Combustible Celluloid
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With: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn, Connor Fielding, Owen Fielding, Peyton List, Laine MacNeil, Grayson Russell, Terence Kelly, Fran Kranz
Written by: Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah, based on a book by Jeff Kinney
Directed by: David Bowers
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor and mischief
Running Time: 96
Date: 03/17/2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Bruise Brothers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie series gets a new director in David Bowers (Flushed Away, Astro Boy) but keeps the same tone and the same funny in-betweens, animated in the style of Jeff Kinney's artwork. The scatological stuff seems toned down here, although there's certainly a fair share of embarrassment-related humor.

Greg (Zachary Gordon) and Rowley (Robert Capron) begin seventh grade in this sequel to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Greg falls for a cute new girl Holly Hills (Peyton List) and renews his attempts to be popular. Meanwhile, mom (Rachael Harris) has begun writing a newspaper column about parenting that further embarrasses Greg. And his older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick) continues to torment him. When their parents go out of town for a weekend, Rodrick throws a wild party, and then they conspire to clean up their mess and hide the evidence. This conspiracy brings them closer as brothers, but what happens when the other shoe drops?

The focus here is less on Greg and his best friend Rowley and more on Greg and his older brother Rodrick; as with the previous film, this movie seems to actually get what it feels like to be a middle-schooler with older and/or younger siblings, although this theme will be less universal than that of the first movie. Overall, the sequel is fast, funny and effective and will probably please fans, though probably less so than the original.

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