Diary of a Whimpy Kid

Rated 3.0

An adolescent (Zachary Gordon) chronicles his middle-school adventures in a book that he insists is not a diary, but a journal. Jeff Kinney’s illustrated novel comes to the screen graced with a witty and surprisingly complex script by Jackie and Jeff Filgo, Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah—the whole thing smoothed out with a light directorial touch by Thor Freudenthal (getting better results than he did with the mildly preposterous Hotel for Dogs). The young cast is another plus, comfortable in front of the camera and blessedly free of Hollywood-kid phoniness. Eleven-year-old Gordon carries the film with ease, even when his character shows himself to be a bit of a conceited brat. We like him despite that, and want him to learn his lesson. Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn lend grown-up support as his parents.