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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film can prompt conversations about adapting literary works to film as well as comparing and contrasting film versions of the popular book series. Parents might discuss the portrayal of middle school with kids.
Listen to your inner voice to know what's right and wrong. One friend is all you need. True friendship is more important than being cool or popular. Middle school is a nasty place.
Positive Role Models
Greg and Rowley have each other's backs in the dog-eat-dog world of middle school. They end up putting their friendship above other considerations, and Greg takes the fall for Rowley in front of other students. They lie to their parents but get caught. Greg's big brother scares him about how bad middle school will be and advises him to ditch his best friend. Students bully each other and show a general lack of compassion for one another.
Some racial diversity among secondary animated characters.
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Violence & Scariness
Kids fly off bikes and land in hedges, on lawns, and in the road. Rowley breaks his arm on one such fall. Middle schoolers bully each other, and a trio of high schoolers bully Greg and Rowley. Bullying consists of taunts, insults, thrown food, pushing, slapping, forcing to eat something gross, and a single punch to the face. The boys wander into scary-looking woods on Halloween night and get chased by water balloon-throwing teenagers in a pick-up truck. The truck crashes; everyone is fine.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Boys are seen on toilets in the school bathroom.
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"Moron," "jerk," "idiot," "punk," "booger," "stupid," "what the heck," "in your face," "eat my dust."
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Products & Purchases
The film could inspire interest in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series and other movies.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated comedy based on Jeff Kinney's phenomenally popular book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid is independent from the earlier live-action films. Expect the same kind of sometimes-gross humor as in the books, as well as tween and teen bullies and childish taunts ("moron," "jerk," "idiot," "stupid," "what the heck," etc.). Kids fly off of bikes, and one breaks his arm. Bullies threaten, insult, throw food, push, slap, force others to eat something gross, and punch a younger child. A boy puts his hand on another kid's booger and sees boys sitting on toilets at school. Kids wander into scary-looking woods on Halloween and get chased by water balloon-throwing teens in a pick-up truck (it ends in an injury-free crash). Still, despite some mean behavior, the two main characters learn lessons about doing what's right and prioritizing friendship over reputation. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's hard to go wrong with the repeatedly proven source material of this beloved series, but this CG animated version lacks some of the charm of the books and the previous live-action films. It doesn't help that the characters, sketched to look like the drawings in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, have vacant ink-black eyes. It makes them harder to connect to, at least at first. By the end, which comes within the hour, you'll be rooting for the pair as always.
The film looks but doesn't feel like it's targeted at younger kids. Its first half sets middle school up as a seriously mean more than a humorously miserable place. Things pick up when the boys embark on trick-or-treating adventures with Greg's little brother, complete with Rowley's over-the-top, mom-approved costume, and when Rowley gains status at school for his broken arm. Greg's revenge visit to Fregley's house is hilariously wacky, though some of the dark humor could go over kids' heads. There might be better adaptations out there, but this one is still sure to draw fans. Disney has already announced a follow-up in the works.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.