Given its success, a sequel was inevitable. Given how quickly its stars are aging, however, a sequel was also rushed. The one-year-later result is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. While its still enjoyable and full of goodwill, the quick production schedule shows in the seams.
Whereas the original focused on Greg Hefleys (Zachary Gordon) jump into middle school and re-evaluating his friendship with his chubby, clueless best bud, Rowley (Robert Capron), the follow-up focuses on Gregs ongoing rivalry with his older, bad-boy brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), wannabe rock star. Tired of their constant bickering, Mom (Rachael Harris) bribes them to get along via a rewards system she terms Mom Bucks.
And so begins a series of scenes that play like loose sketches rather than a full story. Director David Bowers (Astro Boy) brings all of the charm but little of the comedic spark that Thor Freudenthal did the first time around. Often, Rodrick Rules feels not like a full-fledged feature, but a made-for-TV version, where the timing just didnt make the leap along with the cast. And no offense to Bostick, who is fine, but the overall proceedings suffer from Capron being downgraded in screen time.
Still, this second round of misadventures for the Wimpy Kid doesnt leave you checking your watch or wishing it ill will. For movies targeted to tots and tweens, thats saying something.
The extras offer even more footage, in the form of a handful of new "My Summer Vacation" shorts, in which various characters take turns sharing what they did between the events of the two films, from starting a detective agency and playing a Dungeons & Dragons-style game to neglecting dog-sitting duties. Rod Lott