Seen 1st July
In the late ‘80s and ‘90s when VHS was getting popular, there was a phenomenon known as the “Straight-to-video Movie”. When DVD came in, they only got bigger. Straight-to-video movies were huge because they were cheap to make, you only needed one recognizable name and as long as there was a Blockbuster around you were guaranteed to make money. This genre is why Steven Seagal is able to eat. It’s also the genre that Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul should be in because it sure as hell doesn’t belong in a cinema.
The movie followed the Heffley family, in particular Greg Heffley who will be the Wimpy Kid that the title refers to. Sadly he does not have a diary in this movie, he just has annoyance. In the first 10 minutes of the movie you know exactly what we’re going to be seeing here. Greg tries to go into a playground at Corny’s Family-Style Restaurant to save his brother Manny and ends up in a ball pit with a diaper on his hand. He waves his hand around with the diaper stuck to it while screaming “DIAPER DIAPER DIAPER” as though the damn thing is Beetlejuice and saying its name often enough will make it disappear. Naturally this ends up being recorded on every cell phone in the building and ‘Diaper Hands” goes viral with about 6000 views on the video by the time the term ‘viral’ is brought up. Whoever wrote this script not only has no idea how memes work, they have no idea what viral means.
In a somewhat vague attempt to repair his image Greg decides to somehow sneak to a video game convention where legendary gamer Mac Digby will be trying to break a record. He plans on getting into one of Mac’s youtube videos which he think will somehow restore his reputation. Several questions.
- Why not get an actual youtuber? Was Markiplier just not in the budget for this movie?
- “That’s how Digby do it” is not a catch phrase, who thought this phrase up and why are they making money as a writer?
- Has the writer ever been to youtube? Because being in a Mac Bigby video would not make diaper hands go away, it’d be the only conversation happening in the comment section.
Fortunately for Greg, his mother (Played by Alicia Silverstone, she will be the only person in this movie with a marketable name) wants to take a road trip to his grandmother’s home for her birthday. What follows for the next eternity is your sub-standard road trip movie which follows every single goddamn cliché that has ever been put in a sub-standard road trip movie. Random stop by a farm/county fair? Check. Picking up a random animal as a new pet? Check. Stupid “I need to pee” joke? Check and double check. It’s shocking how unoriginal all of it is and how painful everyone is when trying to say their lines. The kids get kind of a pass because they’re children and no one expects that much from child actors but I swear Alicia Silverstone was trying to choose between 5 emotions every sentence and decided to do all of them at once. Oh and as for the father character, Frank (Played by Tom Everett Scott, he was in that movie that was Best Picture Winner for about 30 seconds)… his character trait is work and his performance choice is “Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film”.
At random points in this movie there are these genuinely interesting cartoons in the same strange style that the cover art to the books has and it’s pretty fun… it happens about 3 times, that’s it. There’s also 2 scenes with a cartoon background but the main kid is actually there talking to the audience and that’s used twice. These could have been interesting framing devices if used properly but instead they were random, out of place and frankly should’ve been cut.
There’s also this random subplot about a man called simply “Beardo” who keeps chasing the family down because he’s angry that his car was scratched by Greg… except, it wasn’t scratched by Greg, it was scratched by his daughter and he is looking at her as she does it, I genuinely have no idea how that’s meant to work. It’s frankly disturbing seeing this 40 something large man with a beard chasing after a child as though he wants to murder him. In the 90’s this was a creepy trope, today it’s downright terrifying. The only decent moment involving him is a Psycho shower scene reference which is actually a pretty good variation on that scene. Shame it’s literally seconds after a 2 minute scene involving Beado taking a shit while Greg hides in the shower.
This movie would maybe be fine if it was direct to video, expectations lowered means it’d be barely OK as a viewing experience. In a cinema? No, objectively awful with exactly 5 minutes total of decency. If you love your children, you will take them to better movies
Edit: This movie was so bad it inspired me to write an article titled “Good Bad Movie VS Bad Bad Movie: What’s The Difference“, read that and let me know if you agree with it.