A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is the fourth movie in the series based on Jeff Kinney's super-popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, but it has an all-new cast. In this installment, Greg Heffley (now played by Jason Drucker) is forced to go on a road trip with his family; predictably, chaos ensues. As in the previous three movies, there's a lot of gross-out humor involving pee, poop, and vomit, as well as some insult language ("loser," "fat," "stupid," etc.) and chase scenes. Stressful moments include car accidents, Greg being pursued by an angry man, and a runaway boat. There's a running theme of putting technology aside to better enjoy family time. And although much of the behavior in the movie isn't particularly admirable, the characters do come together in the end, and -- amid the sibling torment and fart jokes -- there are positive messages about the importance of family and perseverance.
What's the story?
In DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL, Greg Heffley (Jason Drucker) is so over spending time with his family -- he'd rather have fun this summer, to help him forget about a humiliating viral video. His plans are foiled when his mom, Alice (Alicia Silverstone) plans a cross-country family road trip to Greg's great-grandmother's house for her 90th birthday. And when it doesn't seem like things could get any worse, Alice declares it a technology-free vacation. But Greg will do just about anything to get to a gaming convention so he can meet his idol and clear his name.
Is it any good?
If you're a fan of the Wimpy Kid series, you'll probably enjoy this one, too, even though it doesn't do anything new and isn't particularly good. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul begins with Greg getting caught on video doing something super embarrassing, and it immediately goes viral. This begins a series of events that puts Greg in ridiculous, sometimes funny situations. Like the three movies before it, Long Haul is all about gross-out humor and cringe-inducing situations. There's no discussion about the shame the video has caused him -- it's not that kind of movie.
The only thing really new/fresh about this fourth installment in the movie franchise based on Jeff Kinney's best-selling book series is the cast, including Silverstone as mom Alice, who's trying really hard to make her family get off of their phones and talk to each other -- even though when they do talk to her they don't have anything nice to say. Greg does get a big lesson at the end, but not until he ruins the family's vacation, destroys their car car, runs away, and ends up making his viral video situation worse. The family comes together in the end, but it takes a long time to get there.
Talk to your kids about ...
What happens to Greg when an embarrassing video of him goes viral? What did you think when all of those people were laughing at and filming him? Has anything like that ever happened to you/someone you know?
Greg and Rodrick take off in an Uber to go to the gaming convention, lying to their parents about where they've gone. Why was that an irresponsible choice? What could the possible consequences have been? Is telling a lie in a note or email the same as telling a lie directly to someone?
Who do you think the movie's gross-out moments are intended to appeal to? How can you tell? Does it work?
Fans of the books: How do the movies compare? What was different or new? Did you like the changes?
- In theaters: May 19, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: August 8, 2017
- Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Jason Drucker
- Director: David Bowers
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book characters, Middle school
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some rude humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.