The Heffley Family hit the road for the summer so they can visit a 90 year old relative on her birthday. Mom is intent on getting the family unit to become closer through this trip, eating healthy, no devices, and doing things together. That sounds like hell to me and for the most part her family agree. Greg has recently become a youtube star for the wrong reasons and thinks that going to a gaming convention and meeting up with a professional gamer will help him restore a cooler image. Thankfully the convention is along the way, just two inches on the map, what can go wrong.
I remember a few years ago going to see two films in this series, different cast, but I also remember that I enjoyed them. The fact that I remember anything from a few years ago is something that really makes me happy, long story, won’t go into it, and when I heard that this was a reboot and a sequel all in one I screamed into my pillow. That nearly got me thrown off the bus.
Sitting down watching this film though it felt more like a cross between the friendly family movie I expected and one of the National Lampoon road movies. It was charming enough and if I had children who were about 10 years old it would be a great way to spend an afternoon at the cinema. There is no offence caused to anyone and the gross out parts of the film are tamed to the point where no one but a child would find them funny.
The biggest problems I had was that there were only a few characters in the whole film that were likeable. Mom, played by Alicia Silverstone, was the biggest offender for me. It’s not that I have a problem with Batgirl, she’s a good actress, it’s just her character is very clearly based on the Moms I see around children these days. If they are not complaining about the modern life that their children are leading they are calling themselves a Bad Mother. They want their children to live like they did on Walton’s Mountain. Then we have Greg himself, the Wimpy Kid is played by Jason Drucker, and the script and director have done him no favours. Here in The Long Haul Greg is the most annoying character, and if you knew this kid, you’d cross the street if you saw him coming, The rest of the cast aren’t as clearly defined as they should have been.
You have to have characters that the audience likes, that you want good things to happen to, and that is where this film falls flat on its face. When everything starts to go wrong during this road trip you are happy. The unlikeable characters get their plans turned on their heads, and you’re sitting back going ‘GOOD!’
Again, if I had children around the 10 year old mark, I’d be taking them to the cinema, buying all their treats in a supermarket, to see this film. Chances are that they’d enjoy the film. It asks very little of those that pay in to see the film. They throw in pieces of animation in the cartoon style of the art in the books. I think older children will find it hard to sit through, even early teens, because it’s very basic storytelling. I am thankful that I don’t have to take my nephew and niece to the cinema anytime soon as this would be the film that they’d probably like to see. I’ve seen it, and if there are more to come, I only hope that they fix the scripts so they make the people somewhat likeable, and make you care about what is happening to them, in a good way.
Director: David Bowers
Writers: Jeff Kinney, David Bowers, Adam Sztykiel
Stars: Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott