The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, based on the series of children’s books written by Jeff Kinney, was actually pretty good. It wasn’t anywhere near as poignant as The Wonder Years, but Greg Heffley (played by Zachary Gordon) had the same endearingly awkward characteristics that made Kevin Arnold so relatable—just like Arnold, Heffley is an average kid with nerdy friends who puts too much stake in being popular.

This time around, though, the film isn’t as charming. Now in eighth grade, Heffley is struggling to get along with his older brother, Rodrick. The two end up joining forces when they have to hide the fact that they had a party while the parents went out of town for the weekendzzzzz…

It’s another half-assed sequel that strips away any character development to make room for cheap, child-appropriate slapstick (there’s a montage of brothers bonding over fake vomit), music by Ke$ha (which almost caused me to have my own moment of real vomit), and a party scene full of kids getting high on Coca-Cola products and doing really crazy things like… spraying whipped cream into their mouths straight from the can (REBELS).

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I mean, it’s fine. For your kids, it’ll be eye candy. But if that’s all you’re after, you’d be better off saving your money by staying home and watching videos of baby red pandas frolicking in the snow (squeeeeee!).

If Rodrick Rules is the first indication of how Diary’s sequels are going to go, and we’ve got three more books (so far) in the series, shit’s gonna get real straight-to-DVD, real soon. Especially because Gordon is already 13 years old, puberty is nigh, and they’ll no doubt soon have to replace him with a poor man’s version of himself à la Home Alone. That’ll be the nail in the coffin. recommended