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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Diary of a wimpy kid the long haul.jpg
Diary-of-a-Wimpy-Kid-the-Long-Haul-Movie-Poster.jpg
#NotMyRodrick. He will NEVER be the true Rodrick we all know and love.
Genre: Comedy
Action
Family
Directed By: David Bowers
Produced By: Nina Jacobson
Brad Simpson
Written By: Jeff Kinney
David Bowers
Adam Sztykiel (uncredited)
Based On: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
by Jeff Kinney
Starring: Jason Drucker
Alicia Silverstone
Tom Everett Scott
Charlie Wright
Owen Asztalos
Cinematography: Anthony B. Richmond
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 19, 2017 (United States)
May 25, 2017 (United Kingdom)
Runtime: 91 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $22 million
Box Office: $40 million
Franchise: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Prequel: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Sequel: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021 animated reboot; by release date)


"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 first book got released on Disney+ in 2021. Though that movie is still not great, it is much better than this one.

Plot

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 Never Going to Take You On a Long Haul

  1. It has barely any connection to the first three films, to the point where it feels more like a reboot or a parody than a sequel.
  2. Similar to Dragonball: Evolution, one of the main criticisms of the film is the new cast members, as they 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. It is also frustrating to see him as the young little kid again, and it feels like the writers just undid his character development in this movie just to redo it, but worse.
    • Rodrick, his older brother, is probably the worst since he 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 where Rodrick has a real personality, here in this film, his personality feels rather fake and one-dimensional. The reason 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.
    • Greg’s mother, Susan 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, Harris put in a great performance that matched the character's personality well, making her seem like a convincing and overprotective parent. However, for Silverstone, she puts in a more threatening and aggressive performance, which not only fails to match the original performance of 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 no reason to recast Susan, Frank and maybe Rodrick, since their original actors look around the same age.
  3. Lazy and unnatural acting, especially by Tom Everett Scott acting more like a generic dad than Frank, especially compared to the zany performance by Zahn.
  4. Sequel baiting: Susan 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.
  5. 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.
    • In the book, the Heffleys go to Soak Central. However, in this film, they go to the player expo so that Greg can meet Mac Digby, despite Soak Central being seen in the credits.
    • In Hard Luck, Meemaw is said 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.
    • Some elements from the book were removed in the film like Flat Stanley's cameo, the Heffleys going to a museum of butter life-sized carvings of the US presidents, Greg going to a veterinarian after the pig bites him, and the pet cemetery incident.
    • In the book, it says that the Beardos own the same minivan as them but purple, when in reality, they own an old Volkswagen camper from the 1960s or 70s.
    • The Heffleys Minivan in the book looks like a 2001-2007 Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town and Country, but in the movie, it’s instead a 2011-2020 Toyota Sienna. Though this isn’t really much of a problem.
  6. There is almost no good comedy or humor in this film, which ruins all of the comedic humor from the previous films and books.
  7. 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. For example, Greg and Rowley watch a Let’s Play style video which peaked several years before this film was released.
  8. 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". Even Mr. Beardo got his hand stuck in a diaper in a later scene.
    • A scene where Manny's pig farted in the Heffley family's car.
    • 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 make it even more nauseating for the audience to watch.
  9. Constant reuse of the same background extras. The worst part of this is that some of them stare directly in front of the camera.
  10. 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 it runs into a hay bale, which isn’t hard enough to damage engine components.
    • 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.
  11. Manny wins a pig and somehow it's all Greg's fault, even though he was trying to prevent the whole situation from happening.
  12. 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, Super Mario, Pokemon, The Simpsons, 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. 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, 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.
  13. The Heffleys are flanderized beyond recognition and often behave in a nonsensical, annoying, frustrating, and idiotic manner.
    • 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.
      • He also locked a pizza in the hotel safe box thinking it was a microwave, despite a safe and a microwave looking significantly different. In addition, he could have unlocked it with 500 as the passcode, as he intended to enter 5:00 as if it was a microwave. This also happened in the book, however, it also still comes across as nonsensical.
    • 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 (in fact, she is at her absolute worst here).
    • 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 has gone from a snarky yet well-meaning kid who just wants to be popular into his book counterpart if he was stupid. It doesn't help that, he was more sympathetic and less abrasive in the first three movies with many scenes like chasing the first graders being removed and others being more justified by the circumstances.
        • He also 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.
  14. 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.
    • It also makes no sense that they must keep the car constantly moving to avoid waking up Manny, as that would have meant that they ran stop signs and red lights.
  15. 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.
  16. Hypocrisy: The film seems to be teaching morals that technology is bad and that it is more important to spend time with family than with technology yet it has blatant product placement for technology like Xbox and Apple and tries to get the audience to root for Greg as he tries to figure out a way to get to the video game expo.
  17. The film features an uninteresting chain of events that only serve to pad out the running time.
  18. 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.
  19. The seagulls’ mouths don’t move when they squawk. Not only that, but they appear to be based on gulls that aren’t in the wild in North America.
  20. The ending makes no sense and is rather tiresome to sit through, especially compared to the first three films.
  21. Much like Ice Age: Collision Course (also distributed by Fox), which negatively affected the reputation of the Ice Age series, this negatively affected the reputation of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film series, and is one of the reasons for the animated reboot to come out.
  22. 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.
  23. It eventually killed off the live-action Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie series, because an animated reboot movie came out on Disney+ in 2021 and looks like all future adaptations for the foreseeable future will be animated.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Because it was a disappointing way to end the live-action Diary of a Wimpy Kid films, this film almost ruined the reputation of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film series mainly because of its negative reception and it’s failure at the box office (just like Batman & Robin, another fourth installment) 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.
  28. Edward Shearmur's soundtrack, despite being decent, is the weakest in the franchise, being inferior to the previous three movies by Theodore Shapiro (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and Edward Shearmur (Rodrick Rules and Dog Days).
  29. Horrendous direction by David Bowers, the same director behind the 2009 adaptation of Astro Boy, which is a far better movie than this.

‎Redeeming Qualities

  1. Like all Wimpy Kid movies, the 2D animation segments are still well done, though different to accommodate a diorama aesthetic.
  2. Despite not being very memorable as mentioned above, the soundtrack is decent composed by Edward Shearmur.
  3. The set design is great just like the previous films, despite the product placement and reuse of extras.
  4. Jeff Kinney, the creator of the book series, makes a cameo appearance in one scene.
  5. Despite the not-so-good 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.
    • Despite most of the acting being corny, Owen Aszaltos did a decent job playing Rowley.
  6. Most of the Heffleys realize their flaws at the end and apologize for their behavior.
  7. Although most of the humor is unfunny and the jokes fall flat, the scene where the seagulls attack the Heffleys after Greg throws a cheese puff to one of them and Rodrick's, "I say we keep it. Then we can get fresh bacon every morning" are the only two good jokes in this movie.
  8. Despite being extremely unfaithful to the book it's based off of, there are a few moments of faithfulness to its source material such as:
    • Susan packing healthy lunches for the boys.
    • The "And I Must Confess" scene where the family has to confess about all the bad things they've done and Rodrick being forced to call Mrs. Tuttle and say he's sorry for toilet-papering her house.
    • Manny getting upset over his pacifier and Frank buying a new one for him.
    • The Heffley family going to the carnival and winning a pig.
    • Manny winning a pig and getting upset over leaving it at the petting zoo.
    • Rodrick shooting his gum throw the sun-roof.
    • And the seagulls attacking the Heffleys after Greg throws a cheese chip to one of them out the window.
  9. Decent cinematography.

Reception

Trailer reaction

On February 23, 2017, a theatrical poster and teaser trailer were released, and the following month, the official trailer was released. Both trailers quickly 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".

Critical response

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul received negative reviews from critics, audiences, and the fans of the book series alike, with many criticizing the new cast, plot, gross-out humor, and unfaithfulness to the source material. On Rotten Tomatoes, 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 IMDb.

Box office

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.

When the film was released in the United Kingdom, it opened on #2, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch with a total of £1,444,092.

The film has grossed over $2.6 million in the United States through home video sales.

Trivia

  • This movie was going to be originally called "New Family, New Vacation".
  • As mentioned above, the announcement of an entirely new cast drew outrage from the audience of the previous films and the fans of the book series. As the official trailer was released, it drew criticism as well and many social media users began using the hashtags "#NotMyRodrick", "#NotMyHeffleys'' and "#NotMyRowley" which became trending on social media and widespread internet memes.
  • 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

Videos

External Links

Comments

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