Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
"I'm Norm of the North, king of nothing." — Norm, Norm of the North
This is a good article.
"He just craps on the name that is Rodrick Heffley. This is just not Rodrick. If he played maybe a character in a Beavis and Butthead live-action movie, then maybe he would be alright, but it just doesn't fit here. It just doesn't fit at all and it's more annoying than anything. There is no reason to even make this movie."— 24 Frames Of Nick
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is a 2017 American family road comedy film directed by David Bowers. It is the fourth installment in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film series and is based on the ninth and tenth books in the series, The Long Haul and Old School, and one element based on the eighth book Hard Luck.
It was released theatrically on May 19, 2017, by 20th Century Fox, and grossed $40 million worldwide on a $22 million production cost.
A fully CGI animated movie adaptation of the books will be released on Disney+ in 2021.
Young Greg Heffley is looking forward to a long summer of just hanging out, but his mother throws a monkey wrench into his plans when she forces the entire family to take a road trip for a relative's birthday celebration. His eyes soon light up after he realizes that the excursion is his ticket to a gaming convention to meet YouTube sensation, Mac Digby. Greg's imagination then kicks into overdrive as he sneakily hatches a scheme to attend the expo and gain some much-deserved fame.
Why It's Not Our Rodrick
- It has barely any connection to the first three films, to the point where it feels more like a remake/reboot than a sequel.
- False advertising: It's said to be the 4th movie in the franchise when in reality, it's considered its own separate film, or at the very least a loose sequel. (The third film came out 5 years prior and this movie took 1 year to make.)
- One of the main criticisms is the new cast members, who do not necessarily match the roles and appearances of the characters from the previous films. They also have rather lousy chemistry, unlike the first three films. This is especially noticeable between the Heffley family and other characters. In fact, they made little to no attempt to look like the old cast apart from Rowley, who’s barely in the film. Part of the reason is because the makers of this movie were more lenient on how they looked than in the original movies. Additionally, unlike the old cast, the makers of this movie didn't bother to test the chemistry between the new cast members apart from Greg and Rowley, who (Rowley) again, is barely in the movie.
- Greg looks way too young to be a middle schooler, as he looks more like an elementary schooler.
- Rodrick doesn't even have the same appearance as in the books or previous films, as his new actor, Charlie Wright lacks the proper look Devon Bostick had. Unlike in the previous films, his personality feels rather fake and one-dimensional. The reason Charlie Wright was allowed to keep his haircut was because it looked like a haircut a punk rock person would have. Just because it's a haircut a punk rock person would have DOESN'T mean it's the type of haircut Rodrick would have.
- Susan Heffley hardly looks or acts anything like she did in the previous films. In the first three films, Rachael Harris had brown hair, whereas Alicia Silverstone has blonde hair. Also, Rachel Harris put in a great performance that matched the character's personality well, making her seem like a convincing and overprotective parent. However, Alicia Silverstone puts in a more threatening and aggressive performance, which not only fails to match the original performance of Rachel Harris, but also makes her seem more like a bully than a parent.
- Frank is an incredibly boring and generic character compared to the performance of Steve Zahn in the first three films, in which he was way funnier and more interesting.
- Manny doesn't look anything like he did in the first three films, as he now has curly hair for some reason.
- The irony of the cast is that while with Greg, Rowley and Manny, their recasting makes sense, but there's not reason to recast Susan, Frank and maybe Rodrick, since their original actors look around the same age.
- Lazy and unnatural acting, especially by Tom Everett Scott acting more like a generic dad than Frank Heffley, especially compared to the zany performance by Steve Zahn.
- It's a generic road trip film that steals elements from films such as A Goofy Movie, as well as a confusing and hard-to-follow climax.
- Sequel baiting: Susan Heffley mentions to Greg how they will be flying for their next vacation, but this was never resolved (at least in the movies), especially considering how it failed in the box office. However, this was resolved when they released the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway, later that year.
- While it still uses elements from the books such as the animation, it focuses more on telling its own story than adapting the story of the book of the same name on which the film is based, leading to a rather poor grasp of the source material.
- In the book, the Heffleys go on a road trip as a vacation. However, in this film, they go on a road trip for four days to visit Meemaw for her 90th birthday, which kind of goes against The Ugly Truth, which Greg thought was unexciting and a waste of time.
- The water park scene from the book is not present in this film, despite being seen in the credits.
- In Hard Luck, Meemaw is rumored to be dead. But in this film, she is alive.
- In the book, the youngest child in the Beardo family is a boy. But in this film, it's a girl.
- They go to the Corny's restaurant in The Third Wheel, not in the original story of The Long Haul.
- There is almost no good comedy or humor in this film, which ruins all of the comedic humor from the previous films and books.
- The film constantly panders to teenagers who use their phones and other devices a lot, resulting in cringe-worthy references to outdated memes and meme formats as well as apps such as Snapchat.
- Greg and Rowley watch a Let’s Play style video which peaked several years before this film was released.
- It also heavily relies on toilet and gross-out humor. While the previous films had some gross-out humor, they did not heavily rely on it and instead used character interactions as the main source of humor. Specific examples of this include:
- Mr. Beardo uses the toilet while Greg is hiding in the bathroom and you can hear him defecating.
- The infamous scene where Greg gets a diaper stuck to his hand and becomes "Diaper Hands".
- When Mr. Beardo chases after Greg on the carnival ride, he pushes down on Rodrick's stomach, causing him to puke, with an added slow-motion effect to worsen it.
- Constant reuse of the same background extras. The worst part of this is that some of them stare directly in front of the camera.
- The logic is very confusing, especially since the original books are meant to be based on reality.
- The car's engine somehow gets damaged when the family runs into a soft hay bale.
- Greg is somehow able to access the Beardos' hotel room without a key card, even though all key cards are meant to only unlock a specific room as they can open a certain lock.
- The Heffleys think that it is somehow fine to push their car at a very quick speed down the incredibly steep hill in front of Meemaw's house and get into the car as they do it. However, in real life, the family (except Greg, who is in the boat) would likely die because of the steepness of the hill and the car's speed, which would cause them to crash into Meemaw's house.
- In addition, it seems impossible for Rodrick, Manny, Susan, and Frank to be in Meemaw's backyard so soon after the boat flies into the pool, safe and sound. They would need to get out of the car, ring the doorbell and have someone at least open the door. This would take around one-two minutes yet they arrive just fifteen seconds after the boat flies into the pool.
- As a poor attempt at humor, the emotional moments are stopped almost immediately, since the film just crams in yet another unneeded joke when it tries to be emotional, resulting in mood whiplash.
- Manny wins a pig and somehow it's all Greg's fault, even though he was trying to prevent the whole situation from happening.
- Overuses product placements, consisting of Dunkin' Donuts, Pepsi, Toyota, Vtech, Instagram, Xbox, Uber, and Apple products. This also includes references to mainstream pop culture like Undertale, Minecraft, YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter streamers. While the original three movies had some product placements in them, they weren't excessive and were never used to make pop culture references.
- On that topic, Greg's main goal in this film is to be featured in Mac Digby's (his favorite YouTuber) gaming stream, which is ironic because, in the books and the first 3 films, he had no interest in being in a Youtuber's gaming stream despite it not being big at the time. And while Greg in the second movie did try to become an internet sensation, this was never used as the main goal or a main part of the plot, and mostly complimented the story, whereas in this movie, his goal of becoming an internet star dominates the story.
- Speaking of mainstream pop culture, the movie relies too much on being hip and current; there are references to selfies, MLG memes (which are dated back when this movie was released in 2017), social media, internet celebrities, and cars with engine start buttons.
- One of the cringiest moments in the film is where Rodrick looks at cosplay on Greg's phone.
- Greg even dabbed in one scene, and the end credits scene shows it again through dabbing emojis.
- The Heffleys are flanderized beyond recognition and often behave in a nonsensical, annoying, frustrating, and idiotic manner.
- For example, instead of calling the cops on the Beardos, the Heffleys decide to chase them down and break into their hotel just to get their stuff back. However, this did happen in the book, but given how it disregards other plot points in the book, it still comes across as nonsensical.
- Rodrick has gone from a punk rock, sometimes clueless yet intimidating older brother to a stupid jerk who doesn't understand basic things, like that Uber Rides cost money.
- Susan has gone from a clueless and oblivious yet well-meaning and caring mother to a bully who thinks technology is bad and has awful priorities.
- Frank has gone from a father who struggles to balance being a strict but fun-loving friend to a generic father who focuses too much on his job.
- Susan is an extremely selfish and immature parent and also a huge Mary Sue who has a massive ego, yells constantly, bashes modern technology, and belittles what her family likes and doesn't like while caring more about what she likes. In fact, she doesn't even care the slightest that she humiliates Greg at the expo and is more concerned about running the trip the way she wants it and gets away with it, making her a Karma Houdini. Even her apology seen nearly at the end of the movie does not excuse her for the things she has done.
- What makes this aspect worse is that in the third film, Susan says "you can't take away what they love" to Frank, yet that's exactly what she does here. Not only does this contradict the previous film, but this can also count as hypocrisy.
- Another example is Greg not telling his family about the Beardos, who are literally trying to kill him. Though this could be because he thinks he will be blamed for it, which is likely, though this is still ridiculous to kill someone over a scratched car.
- Instead of trying to get their stuff back from the Beardos who stole it in the first place, Susan is more concerned about getting cleaned than getting their stuff back, which is the whole point of the attempt to break into the motel room in the first place, another reason why they should have called the cops if they weren't even going to do what they set out to do in the first place. They’d be breaking the law even further.
- Greg somehow thinks that Indianapolis is near Meemaw's house on a map that is scaled, and he should know that maps aren't like that, implying that he doesn't understand how maps work.
- There is one scene where Greg almost gets run over by a car and Susan is more concerned about Manny taking a nap than Greg almost getting hurt and tells him to be careful because he almost woke up Manny. Instead of being grateful that her son wasn't killed, Susan takes this for granted and is worried about something far less important. This just shows how horrible and neglectful she is.
- The morals are mostly bad and feel like they're shoved down the viewer's throat. The movie even acts like spending time with your family and taking a break from technology is a problem, with Greg saying "we need things like video games and smartphones to survive" in the beginning.
- The film features an uninteresting chain of events that only serve to pad out the running time.
- Abysmal production values, considering the author, Jeff Kinney, would much rather have an adaptation of Cabin Fever, which would have been marketed as a theatrical film or an animated television special, but somehow decided to go with the fourth film with an all-new cast, which unfortunately didn't help.
- Atrocious CGI for the seagulls and the mouse that looks absolutely fake and unrealistic.
- The ending makes no sense and is rather tiresome to sit through, especially compared to the first three films.
- Greg almost does not learn anything in this movie or the movie did not try to build up the lesson. In the first three movies, Greg learns to be a better friend, a better son, and a better brother, but here, Greg does not learn anything at all, except that technology is important, and possibly for Susan, you can't force people to like things you like, but this suffers from bad execution and not being supported by a good story.
- It eventually killed off the live-action Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie series, since an animated reboot movie was announced to come out on Disney+ in 2021.
- Like Home Alone: Taking Back the House, the real-life movie itself feels more like a pilot episode for a television series or maybe a generic Disney Channel/Nickelodeon TV movie than an actual cinematic sequel.
- There are many scenes where the camera always zooms into Greg's face to make it more dramatic. This can definitely get on your nerves.
- A lot of characters from the first three films aren't even mentioned or seen, such as Angie Steadman (in the first movie), Chirag Gupta, Holly Hills (in 2 and 3), Fregley, Patty Farrell, Carter, Wade, Pete Hosey, Shelly, Coach Malone, Mr. Winsky, Mrs. Norton, and Collin.
- Not to mention, this film almost ruined the reputation of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film series mainly because of its negative reception and box-office bomb and killed anymore chances of an live-action Wimpy Kid movie coming back to the big screen which is why nobody speaks about this movie anymore. Though an fully CGI computer-animated movie will be releasing on December 3, 2021.
- Like all Wimpy Kid movies, the 2D animation segments are still well done, though different to accommodate a diorama aesthetic.
- Soild musical score composed by Edward Shearmur.
- The set design is great just like the previous films, despite the product placement and reuse of extras.
- Jeff Kinney, the creator of the book series, makes a cameo appearance in one scene.
- Despite the terrible casting choices, it does make sense to have a new cast as the old cast grew up as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid is in a floating timeline where the characters age very little.
- To include this, it does makes a lot of sense for Zachary Gordon to stop starring in the film as Greg Heffley because Greg Heffley is a middle-schooler, not a high-schooler, or not even a college student. Click on the video's link for his explanation.
- Most of the Heffleys realize their flaws at the end and apologize for their behavior.
On February 23, 2017, a theatrical poster and teaser trailer were released, and the following month, the official trailer was released. Both trailers received negative feedback from fans for their recasting of the main characters. Many took to social media to further express their outrage and began using the hashtag "#NotMyRodrick", which eventually became a widespread meme. Other hashtags included "#NotMyHeffleys" and "#NotMyRowley".
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul received generally negative reviews, with many critizing the new cast, plot, gross-out humor, and unfaithfullness to the source material. On Template:Rotten, the film has an approval rating of 18% based on 71 reviews and an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "With an all-new cast but the same juvenile humor, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul finds the franchise still stuck in arrested – and largely unfunny – development." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 39 out of 100 based on 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, down from the first three films' "A-," as well as a 4.3/10 on Template:Rotten.
The film opened in about 3,174 theaters, the second-biggest opening for a Diary of a Wimpy Kid film, after Dog Days, The Long Haul grossed $20.7 million in the United States and Canada and $19.3 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $40.1 million, against a production budget of $22 million. It was the lowest-grossing film of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
In North America, the film was initially projected to gross around $12 million from 3,129 theaters during its opening weekend. However, after grossing $2 million on its first day, projections were lowered to $7 million. It ended up finishing with $7.1 million, placing 6th at the box office and marking the lowest opening of the franchise.
The film has grossed over $2.6 million in the United States through home video sales.
- This movie was going to be originally called "New Family, New Vacation".
- Because the release dates of this film and the previous Diary of a Wimpy Kid film are so spaced apart, child actors such as Zachary Gordon from the previous films did not reprise their roles due to being too old for their characters. Also, many of the adult actors had begun working on other projects. So it was the easiest decision to invite an entirely new cast for the film.
- Tom Everett Scott and Steve Zahn, who have shared the role of Frank Heffley, both starred together in the movie That Thing You Do!, and are friends in real life.
- Due to Disney's completed acquisition of the Fox assets (including 20th Century Fox and its subsidiaries) and immediate film cancellations, this marks one of the last times 20th Century Fox and most of its subsidiaries have based one of their films off of an already existing work that is necessary to create.
- The W in the poster looks very similar to the Wikipedia logo.
- Believe it or not, Undyne from the fanmade Undertale AU, Underkeep, actually makes a cameo one of the scenes in this film