Jeff Kinney has written 13 Diary of a Wimpy Kid... books that have sold at least 58 million copies in print worldwide. From those books, four films have been released - the first three averaged a global take of $75 million on average production costs of $20 million. Not great, but still a 3X profit ratio.


The first three were released in rapid succession in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to take advantage of the youthful cast which included Zachary Gordon and Devon Bostick whose careers pretty much fizzled afterwards. Now everyone is too old and it's time to recast.


I would have loved to heard the discussions concerning the casting of this latest entry to the franchise. "Attention actors, please keep in mind that you will be tossing whatever future you might have had into the toilet if you get cast..." Truly, there must have been some desperation for the talent after reading the script; provided they even saw the script!

Jason Drucker takes over as Wimpy kid Greg Heffley while Charlie Wright fills the bill as older brother Roderick. The parents are played by Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott who have managed barely marginal careers all along. Needless to say, this is a film they all should hope nobody important sees.


This time, the Heffleys are going on a road trip to see MeeMaw (the grandmother) on her 90th birthday. Mother Heffley is positive that the time together in a car will be good for the family, though she seems to be the only one excited about the trip. Her husband is only moderately interested, but is behind at work and needs to keep up.


After over packing the car and small motor boat with enough crap, they start out on the trip. At the last minute however, she informs everyone that there will be no technology allowed - cell phone and tablets will be turned off and confiscated.

This doesn't work well for the boys, expecially since they now have to listen to the parents singing very old songs. Moreover, Greg is afraid that he will miss out on a gaming convention not far from MeeMaw's house - about an inch according to the map.


Now he must think of a plan to get to the convention so that he can play a video game with a popular gamer named Mac Digby (Joshua Hoover). They reason is that before the family left on the trip a video of Greg with a diaper stuck top his hand went viral and he feels he can undo the damage with a cool shot with a popular celeb.


Naturally everything goes wrong, including an ongoing chase by a slovenly family who Greg and Roderick have nicknamed the Beardo's. Um....


There was very little actually humorous about the film, mostly gross-out scenes that labored to to be funny. There is one scene that recreates the famous shower scene from "Psycho" with mud, but that is not enough to save the film.


The acting, the lines, the situations are as juvenile as you can get with hardly any imagination - save for that shower scene.


"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" is one of those films that any chaperoning parent will dread sitting through; maybe the younger kids will find it amusing. This could be a career killer for most of the cast!   -- GEOFF BURTON