Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (SPOILERS) Adoption Movie Review

Two brother, Greg and Roderick, convince their parents to take a four-day-long road trip to their grandmother’s 90th birthday party, but secretly plan to divert the trip to a nearby video gaming convention; Greg hopes to increase his esteem in the mind of his middle-school peers while teenage Rodrick hopes to win a video game competition in order to earn money to fix his van. The road trip gets off to a rough start when their mother decrees that the trip will have no technology. Along the way the family runs into disasters that might feel at home in a Chevy Chase film.

 The Adoption Connection

There is no adoption connection. The film draws much from family relationships in general

Strong Points

There is a statement that parents set guidelines because they love children. Greg’s mom affirms that she’ll never give up on him and will always love him.

There’s a strong sense of the importance of family and family history.

Greg affirms that time with his family is “really not that bad.”


Greg jokingly says that he likes his family, but that he’s “not sure we should live with each other… Maybe see each other a few times a year.”

Greg and Rodrick hold up a sign in their car saying that the drivers (their parents) are kidnapping them.  A police officer briefly yells at them for this stunt.

Greg and his dad each discover that the other is secretly using technology. They conspire to keep the secret from the mom, but she eventually finds out. She accuses Greg of not caring bout family, and Greg accuses her of not caring about the things he loves. Ultimately, she says that she gives up on trying to guide Greg, but he reconciles with her.

Greg is pursued by the eccentric Mr. Beardo. On one occasion, Greg accidentally slips into the wrong hotel room and crawls into bed next to Mr. Beardo. They spend the night asleep next to each other, and panic when they realize that Greg is in the wrong hotel room. Later, Greg sneaks into Mr. Beardo’s room, but when Mr. Beardo comes back, Greg hides behind the shower curtain and has to listen to Mr. Beardo relieve himself. There are some other gross bodily-fluid scenes.  


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is a family road-trip disaster that reminded me of the Vacation movies I remember from years ago. The family gets into some far-fetched, sometimes gross situations, but ultimately sticks together. This film is told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Greg, who ultimately decides that spending time with his family is alright. Some parents won’t appreciate the gross scenes of the film or Greg’s and Rodrick’s attempts at deceiving their parents, but ultimately the film shows that parents are forgiving and persistent in their love for their kids, and that the boundaries they set are set with the kids’ best interests in mind. This one seems like a good fit for kids ages 9-12 or so.

Questions for Discussion

Why did Greg want to outgrow the name that his classmates teased him with? Do you think it’s realistic that, ultimately, the name gained him popularity?
What’s the craziest trip we’ve ever been on? If you could design a trip for us, where would we go?

How much time should someone spend on a smart phone? Do smartphones help or hurt friendships and family, or is it a mix?

Greg felt that he had no control over his life. Was he right or wrong? What ways do you control your life? Which things don’t you get to choose? In what ways is that different for adults, and in what ways do you think it’s the same for adults?  

What do you like best about family time? What activities would you like to do as a family?

What’s the best way to sew together two family histories?

Why do you think parents make rules for kids? What rules make the most sense to you?

If you made rules for other kids, what would they be?  

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