Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Blu-ray Review
I’ve heard a lot of good things about the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID movie franchise. I’ve even heard higher praise for the books they’re based on. I’ve never watched it because it’s not my demographic and the first three films in the franchise were during a time where I had my nose buried in college books more than I had my eyes on the screen. With that in mind, THE LONG HAUL is my introduction to the beloved series and I’m willing to bet it’ll probably be my last.
Greg (Drucker) is the middle child of the Heffley family, who’s about to road trip to Indianapolis so that they can attend Meemaw’s 90th birthday. But Greg actually has other plans, due to an incident at a pizza place that goes viral in the beginning of the movie. He plans on hijacking the GPS so that the family is inadvertently taken to a nearby Player Expo where Greg hopes to clear his sullied name and erase his Internet infamy. Regardless of the terrible plot, any family road trip should be wrought with comedy gold, right?
THE LONG HAUL generally sinks to the lowest common denominator by wedging in fart jokes, poop jokes, puke jokes and any other “family-friendly” toilet humor. There are a couple of inspired moments, but they’re dampened because they usually come at the expense of backwoods folks along the trip, especially when the family makes a pit stop at a carnival. The only time I smirked at a gag was when a bag of puffed cheese snacks fell in a hot tub and Greg turns into an oompa loompa. I know, I should be ashamed of myself for that one.
Greg’s brother, Rodrick (Charlie Wright), has somehow proven Darwin wrong by continuing his existence. His intelligence level is lower than a high-school dropout stoner and at one point he ingests nine sticks of deep fried butter. He’s the least likeable of the family. Greg’s mom, Susan (Silverstone), rarely takes the high road as one of the adults on this trip. When push comes to shove, she’s generally the first to shove. The most innocent of the family, is the father and the family’s youngest. But that’s probably because they’re reactionary characters that express general shock or disinterest in the low-brow shenanigans.
Despite my overall distaste for THE LONG HAUL, there was something very odd that happened when the family stopped bickering and was no longer at each other’s throat. Before they finally ended up at Meemaw’s, I began to like them as a cohesive down-on-their-luck unit. Despite all their genuine flaws, they manage to bond, stick up for one another, and do the right thing. This level of family dysfunction and camaraderie is very rare and hard to accomplish. MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE barely kept it up for seven years before getting cancelled. I can only assume DIARY OF A WIMPY KID has done passably well until the fourth movie.
Even after watching Greg’s manipulation unfold, he’s still an enjoyable character to watch. There are a lot of universal truths about juvenile slip-ups, embarrassments, and general disgust at having to spend time with family. He tells it all in a very frustrated, creative manner that never resorts to any form of cruelty or meanness. However, I can’t recommend THE LONG HAUL because of how lazy and uninspired it is, as well as its inability to create a rich tapestry of comedic family drama. Spend your money on a trip to the bookstore.
Video: (1080p HD Widescreen 2:39:1) The picture is crystal clear on this blu-ray, highlighting some of the lush backwoods and the poor CGI.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The sound quality matches the picture clarity, coming through perfectly; well balanced and without flaw.
Making a Scene (12:20): Three particular scenes are highlighted on this feature, the pig, the carnival and a bird attack. Despite my reservations about whether or not there’s anything funny or entertaining within these scenes, this feature was mildly amusing to see the light mix of special effects with practical effects.
Greg Heffley’s 10 Rules for the Perfect Road Trip (3:03): A self-explanatory feature where Greg talks over illustrations and movie clips about his 10 rules.
Road Games (3:53): This feature is about games that I hope you never play with friends, or decide to subject your family to.
Learn to Draw (14:26): Jeff Kinley sketches and narrates how to draw his iconic characters. It’s interesting to watch him at work as well as his animation knowledge and motivations.
A Decade of Wimpy Fun (13:26): Since this is my introduction to the film franchise, I enjoyed this feature way more than I enjoyed the film. It reaffirms my suspicion that the books are miles better.
Deleted Scenes and Bloopers (4:34): The deleted scenes and bloopers are blended like a smoothie and move at such a frenetic pace, it makes the movie seem a lot more fun to make than it actually was to watch.
Deleted Animation (1:24): There are two deleted animated sequences.
Haulin’ Through Georgia (2:19): A subliminal advertisement for Georgia.
Gallery: A gallery of on the set images that you can manually scroll through or automatically play.