Who's In It: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn

The Basics: The humiliating trials of 6th grade behind him, "wimpy kid" Greg (Gordon, seemingly not having grown one millimeter from the first film to this one, suggesting a quick turnaround in production schedules) enters a relatively calm 7th grade even though he still struggles for popularity, dodges tall girls who want to beat him up and has to deal with a mean older brother (Bostick) obsessed with tormenting his younger sibling. Along come the last film's background-level parents (Harris and Zahn, who seem content just to be part of a successful franchise), stepping up their presence with a challenge to the warring siblings: bond or else.

What's The Deal: By shifting focus from the horrors of middle school to the comparatively more comfortable bummer of life with a big bad brother, this installment winds up losing steam. Where the first movie relied on kid commiseration, visual wittiness and vital tween lessons like, "Don't be a jerk to your friends, even if they're geeks," this one spends most of its time moving from one slapstick set piece to the next and, sadly, getting the details of real life all wrong. In other words, it's about older kids but its target audience is now much younger. And that's fine. If you're an elementary school kid and you want to see a movie that'll allow you to fantasize about the funny stuff that's going to happen when you're a big middle schooler, here's what you ordered. But real 7th graders will probably take a pass and buy a ticket to Sucker Punch.

How It Backfires: It's one thing to be a vacillating, sometimes misunderstood smart-ass, but this series' main character seems to be turning mean. I'm not sure that's where they're intending to take him, but that's how it's unfolding. He's self-aware, self-conscious and self-aggrandizing, but he's not reflective. And it makes you wind up rooting for the nerdy pals he takes his frustrations out on instead of for him.

Where It Ought To Go Next: To a plotline where he becomes a genuine social pariah in the 8th grade, just like Chloe Moretz's character was in the first film. (Her Howl-reading misfit is missing from this one.) It would help shift the focus back to the absurdity of jockeying for social position. As it stands now, this character is way too invested in being popular.


Comments (21)

Jackie - 3-25-2011 7:37 PM
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Sorry Dave. You loved Rango. I will never trust you again.

Alex - 3-25-2011 8:35 PM
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And you didn't like Rango, Jackie? Add one more stone to the "never trust a women's opinion on movies" sack.

Ghoullio - 3-25-2011 11:46 PM
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No, it's true. Women suck at picking movies. I've had to sit through enough Paul Walker movies to know this for truth. The main character in this series is supposed to be a jerk. My second grade son has been reading it and caught on that the kid is a jack wagon.

Nigel Octavious - 3-26-2011 10:19 AM
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@Ghoullio. Hey ghoullio. Out of curiosity. Are you going to take your kids to Sucker punch?

Shanon - 3-26-2011 5:38 PM
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Wow you boys are horrible I know more people who hated rango. And you are saying that the movies girls pick suck? I can name alot of "boy" movies that were horrible!! And there proboly your favorite. So don't go running your mouth like a kindergartener. And by the way if you dont want to watch the movie the girl picked out just tell her you morons!!

m - 3-26-2011 7:05 PM
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u are right shanon girls are better!!!

The Guy - 3-26-2011 8:43 PM
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You're all wrong. Deal with it.

Hannah brown - 3-27-2011 11:56 AM
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I thought this movie was amazing I could not stop laughing! whoever thinks this movie is terrible I think u r totally wrong! My favorite character is manny, even though he doesn't say much I still think it's funny how he calls Greg bubby! :D

yeps - 3-27-2011 3:09 PM
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@Shanon: wow, your spelling/grammar is horrible. "they're" not "there", "probably" not "proboly", missing punctuation everywhere...I could go on. Let me guess, you suck at math/science and you are a horrible driver. Way to stand up for your sex. Get back in the kitchen.

Joe Studdard - 3-27-2011 8:30 PM
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@yeps. Wow, you're really correcting somebody's spelling on a movie review comment page? Who gives a crap if somebody says there instead of they're. Who are you, the grammar police. You get back in the kitchen and make me a sanddwwich. (spelled it wrong on purpose)

mwm - 3-28-2011 7:57 AM
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This movie was very good, laughter from beginning to end. I enjoyed the first one but this one was twice as good.

Woman Who Picks Out Good Movies - 3-28-2011 8:57 AM
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Looks like someone wasn't monitoring their angry 12 year olds. Tsk tsk, parents should know better than to let small children use the internet unsupervised! :(

santdog13 - 3-28-2011 11:37 AM
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The first movie was great but this one was even funnier! My family and I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and I would highly recommend this movie to anyone of all ages. I can't wait to purchase this movie when it's released in stores, and in my opinion, this movie deserves a 5 star rating! *****

LB Hood Dawg - 3-28-2011 2:34 PM
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People who comment are idiots. Oh, wait...

Maria - 3-28-2011 9:34 PM
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I loved anyone who has kids can relate! All the family enjoyed this. Sometimes I don't understand the critics. It has its funny parts must see you will enjoy! Trust your gutt dont go off of what the critics tell you

MarkA - 3-29-2011 10:07 AM
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You'll like it if you liked "Transformers 2". That doesn't mean it is a good movie and it says something about your maturity level. 'Nuff said.

PaulieJr - 3-31-2011 8:00 AM
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As horrible as the first movie was (I cringed as I sat through it with my two daughters), there is just no way I'll be taking them to see this one. I'll trust Dave's judgement on this one.

darien roland - 4-01-2011 1:40 AM
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well i realy like this movie and RODRICK RULES was realy funny when i saw the first flim it was not funny to me it was funny for mom but not me the first one was kinda boring but i realy enjoyed.my favorite chacters were greg and rowely even now they got the cheese touch.i forgot about rodrick he was also one of my favorites.

darien roland - 4-01-2011 1:44 AM
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i forgt to write it after enjoyed.just sayyin'

Alex - 4-02-2011 8:38 PM
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Hey Shanon, what are my favorite movies?

Sandy M. - 5-24-2012 9:36 PM
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I agree with the reviewer. Although there were some funny moments in the movie, there wasn't enough of these genuine, funny moments on screen (exchanged for more dull gross-out, bodily humor). It also played very predictably, adding nothing new to the pubescent dramas that came before it, although it was a lot more wholesome and clean than most. Still, there is nothing new or creative about its plot and many scenes weren't rooted in reality. The movie is just far too long for its thin, bloodless plot, the two conflicts in the movie being Greg's rivalry with his brother and impressing the new girl he has a crush on, but Greg is not so unlikable. He's just afraid to show his true self in fear that no one will like him. This is being awkward.

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