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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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John Vianney: A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies. 
<p>His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained. </p><p>Situations calling for “impossible” deeds followed him everywhere. As pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep. (Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.) </p><p>With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home. </p><p>His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day. </p><p>Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil. </p><p>Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests worldwide.</p> American Catholic Blog The most beautiful and spontaneous expressions of joy which I have seen during my life were by poor people who had little to hold on to. –Pope Francis

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