My three younger nephews (now ages 10, 9 and 7) love the Wimpy Kid books (7 volumes and counting)—especially the 10-year-old—and it’s only because of them that I’ve bothered to see any of the movies, namely the second one and now this third installment, which pretty much plays out like you would expect a movie aimed at kids to play out.
It takes elements from the third and fourth books, sending the title character, one Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), into a summer that, typical for him, turns into a comedy of errors involving, among others, older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick), dad Frank (Steve Zahn) and best friend Rowley (Robert Capron). New to the mix is Holly (Peyton List), on whom Greg has a crush.
As with the last film (and probably the first one), the structure is fairly episodic, with Gordon getting into mishaps at a country club, a Cub Scout camping trip, a Civil War reenactment and an amusement park, and wreaking havoc on Capron’s family, while Bostick and his amusingly-named band, Loded Diper, ruin the Sweet 16 of List’s spoiled older sister, with whom Bostick is smitten.
Gordon endures quite a bit of physical humiliation in the name of laughs—his suit snagging on a diving board as he jumps off, getting smacked with tennis balls—the kind pre-teens, and probably some young teens, will love, and adults will merely smile at. That being said, as an adult who hates roller coasters, I cringed as Gordon and Capron rode the aptly named “Cranium Shaker.”
Also speaking as an adult, I really appreciated Zahn, both for his reliable, slightly off-kilter comic presence (his love of the Civil War is especially amusing) and his handling of the slightly more serious, bonding-with-Gordon moments. And parents with unruly young’uns just might appreciate the running gag of Zahn threatening to send Gordon to military school. – [DVD]
DVD Release Date: 12/18/12