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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Robert Capron and Zachary Gordon star in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules."
Both sibling rivalry and brotherly love put in an appearance in the gently humorous sequel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" (Fox).

Like its 2010 predecessor—called simply "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"—director David Bowers' comedy is adapted from one of Jeff Kinney's best-selling novels in cartoon format.

But this time the proceedings—which put their returning protagonist, hapless junior high school student Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), through another series of embarrassing situations and useful learning moments—are delivered in an even more family-friendly package.

Having achieved the exalted status of seventh graders, Greg and his ever-present best friend, Rowley Jefferson (Robert Capron), return to school expecting to put all humiliation behind them. Instead, after being smitten by her at first sight, Greg finds himself not only hopelessly tongue-tied but frequently made to look ridiculous in the presence of comely new classmate Holly Hills (Peyton List).

At home, meanwhile, Greg's older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick), continues to torment him with all manner of petty pranks.

Unhappy with this ongoing domestic conflict, mom Susan (Rachael Harris)—an advice columnist for the local paper whose articles rely heavily on her supposed expertise at parenting—tries to get her quarreling sons to bond. But her efforts have an unexpected outcome when aspiring rock drummer Rodrick goes from being Greg's bullying persecutor to a mildly bad influence on him.

It's characteristic of Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah's virtually unobjectionable script that the high jinks ensuing from the boys' newfound partnership are uniformly good-natured and almost unrealistically innocent. Thus they throw a party in their parents' absence that sees them engaged in such utter depravity as drinking an excess of soda and forming a coed conga line.

Scattered throughout this genial tale, however, are a few instances of childish scatological humor—Rodrick's band, for instance is called "Loded Diper"—that may raise a red flag for some parents.

One of these mars an otherwise welcome scene in which the family attends a Sunday church service. On the way to worship, Rodrick tricks Greg into sitting on a chocolate-covered candy bar, a stunt which results in an easily misinterpreted stain on the seat of the younger lad's trousers. Once inside, the congregation's frenzied reaction to this unsettling sight disrupts the solemn distribution of communion.

For the most part, though, Greg's tribulations are merely those that would try the soul of any 12-year-old, and he comes away—as youthful viewers are also clearly intended to—having gained new insights into the value of honesty, the importance of family bonds and the power of self-confidence.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Hildegard of Bingen: 
		<p>Abbess, artist, author, composer, mystic, pharmacist, poet, preacher, theologian--where to begin describing this remarkable woman?</p>
		<p>Born into a noble family, she was instructed for ten years by the holy woman Blessed Jutta. When Hildegard was 18, she became a Benedictine nun at the Monastery of St. Disibodenberg. Ordered by her confessor to write down the visions that she'd received since the age of three, Hildegard took ten years to write her <em>Scivias</em> (<em>Know the Ways</em>). Pope Eugene III read it and in 1147 encouraged her to continue writing. Her <em>Book of the Merits of Life</em> and <em>Book of Divine Works</em> followed. She wrote over 300 letters to people who sought her advice; she also composed short works on medicine and physiology, and sought advice from contemporaries such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux.</p>
		<p>Hildegard's visions caused her to see humans as "living sparks" of God's love, coming from God as daylight comes from the sun. Sin destroyed the original harmony of creation; Christ's redeeming death and resurrection opened up new possibilities. Virtuous living reduces the estrangement from God and others that sin causes. </p>
		<p>Like all mystics, she saw the harmony of God's creation and the place of women and men in that. This unity was not apparent to many of her contemporaries. </p>
		<p>Hildegard was no stranger to controversy. The monks near her original foundation protested vigorously when she moved her monastery to Bingen, overlooking the Rhine River. She confronted Emperor Frederick Barbarossa for supporting at least three antipopes. Hildegard challenged the Cathars, who rejected the Catholic Church claiming to follow a more pure Christianity.</p>
		<p>Between 1152 and 1162, Hildegard often preached in the Rhineland. Her monastery was placed under interdict because she had permitted the burial of a young man who had been excommunicated. She insisted that he had been reconciled with the Church and had received its sacraments before dying. Hildegard protested bitterly when the local bishop forbade the celebration of or reception of the Eucharist at the Bingen monastery, a sanction that was lifted only a few months before her death. </p>
		<p>In 2012, Hildegard was canonized and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI.</p>
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