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A Heffley family road trip to attend Meemaw’s 90th birthday party goes hilariously off course thanks to Greg’s newest scheme to get to a video gaming convention.
Director: David Bowers
Writers: Jeff Kinney (screenplay), David Bowers (screenplay)
Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright
Review by Gilbert Seah
Few things that need to be known before watching the new Wimpy Kid film, the 4th instalment of the series! The new film is a family road comedy film based on the book (the 9th) of the same name by Jeff Kinney. It is intended to be a sequel to 2012’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. The original cast and crew members from the first three films will not be reprising their roles, making this the first film to feature an entirely new cast for the reason that the originators have all grown too old for their parts.
Jason Drucker is winning in his role of the wimpy kid, Greg Heffler, taking over from from Zachary Gordon. Charlie Wright who plays his elder brother is even funnier than Devon Bostick. Alicia Silverstone who plays mother is now grown up from her teen films like CLUELESS.
What is rarely seen in films with a loose narrative like this one are the many instances in which slight gags are not only tied into the story but re-appear again at different parts of the film. The piglet that is won at the country fair, is seen again doing ‘poopie’ later in the car and re-appears once again at the reunion with the family. The wronged ‘beardo’ (the wimpy kid’s term for the weirdo with the beard) appears half a dozen times in the film. The mother’s favourite song is sung once again at the end of the film. The diaper hands joke at the start of the film also has significance at the end of the film.
The incidents occurring in the film are not totally identical to the book by Jeff Kinney, but have been modified for the big screen. The deviations work very well.
There is also much to appreciate in this apparently commercial family film. The camera work in one segment is nothing short of amazing. The 5-minute hilarious sequence shot in the cramped space of a car where the audience is treated to a piglet poop, a runaway piglet, a spit-out pacifier and other family antics is indicative that enormous talent is also necessary to make a comedy like this one.
Two hilarious sequences pay homage to Hitchcock films THE BIRDS and PSYCHO. In the one scene, seagulls attack the family car with that segment ending with a seagull literally thrown at actor Drucker just as Hitchcock threw a bird at his star Tippi Hedren. The PSYCHO shower scene is extremely well done complete with chocolate syrup running down the tub hole and the shower curtain ripped off the railing and even funnier than the similar scene in Mel Brooks’ HIGH ANXIETY.
This latest WIMPY KID outing proves that with a good script and direction, perfect comedic timing and winning performances, a film can be thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable for the target family audience and beyond. It turns out that this film is 100 times funnier than the other Fox comedy, SNATCHED released two weeks back.
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