With wimpy diarist Greg Heffley (Gordon) conquering the demons that made being a middle schooler so grim he nowfinds a new set of concerns...at home.
Or to be more precise, his elder brother Rodrick (Bostick).
Rodrick’s an awkward adolescent fresh out of college with dreams of making it in a band but still living with mom and dad... and casually making life a misery for Greg.
After humiliating the floundering youngster in front of a hot new classmate at a roller disco, Rodrick steps up the torment, never missing a chance to undermine or belittle his little bro.
Sensing that her boys are heading for domestic meltdown, mom (Harris) – a sort of agony aunt on a local rag - hits on the idea of the boys bonding with “mom bucks” that can be converted into dollars as an incentive.
However, Rodrick sees this as a gold-plated opportunity to make money with the unwitting Greg the fall guy for buddy sibling schemes he can fool his mum into believing.
Good natured and occasionally laugh-out loud funny, director David Bowers (Flushed Away, Astro Boy) neatly serves Jeff Kinney’s comic novel in a comedy that will be all too familiar to many oppressed tweens.
Greg is basically a good guy, a fallible optimist, and there’s plenty of mileage to be had from his school buddies, notably wide-eyed ingénue Rowley (Capron) who sweetly observes that the gorgeous new girl “is almost as pretty as my mom.”
Life lessons are learnt (but not in a schmaltzy way) and Greg gets the girl (sort of) in an entertaining movie that’s almost old-fashioned in its innate ability to charm.
Something to write home about.