'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'

Starring: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Rated: PG for some rude humor and language

Parent Concerns: If you're the type of parent who abhors scatological humor and can't stand jokes about boogers, farts and other stinky topics (i.e. you probably only have girls), this movie is probably not for you. Seeing as it revolves around a sixth-grade boy's wimpylicious adventures in middle school, the movie's full of boy-targeted silliness. The "rude language" the MPAA's rating description mentions is due to frequent insults like "morons," "tool," "stupid" and "idiot." Oh, and there's a group of high-school-aged bullies who terrorize young middle-schoolers, as well as an older brother who's in a band, wears eye-liner and revels in being a slightly rebellious disappointment to his parents. Overall, there's nothing that makes the PG rating seem off-base.
'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'

Starring: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Rated: PG for some rude humor and language

Parent Concerns: If you're the type of parent who abhors scatological humor and can't stand jokes about boogers, farts and other stinky topics (i.e. you probably only have girls), this movie is probably not for you. Seeing as it revolves around a sixth-grade boy's wimpylicious adventures in middle school, the movie's full of boy-targeted silliness. The "rude language" the MPAA's rating description mentions is due to frequent insults like "morons," "tool," "stupid" and "idiot." Oh, and there's a group of high-school-aged bullies who terrorize young middle-schoolers, as well as an older brother who's in a band, wears eye-liner and revels in being a slightly rebellious disappointment to his parents. Overall, there's nothing that makes the PG rating seem off-base.

Watch the trailer:



New sixth grader Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) tries desperately not to be considered a proverbial wimp in the middle-school social hierarchy. It's a difficult task, considering he's smaller than average and has a tubby and clueless best friend, Rowley (Robert Capron), who still says totally uncool things like "You wanna come over and play after school?" Greg is a tween Everyboy, completely unlike the slick cuties so popular on Disney or Nickelodeon. Somehow Greg thinks joining the safety patrol will make him and Rowley more popular, but as his plans get foiled again and again, he starts being more and more of a jerk to Rowley, begging the question of what's more important: his quest for popularity or his best friend.

Moviefone Mama Says: Have a boy 8-13? Just like the books, this is a great pick for them. Girls will like it too, especially since the screenplay added and expanded girl characters, but it's the boys this series speaks to most. As a mother of three (an eight-year-old boy, five-year-old girl, and two-year-old "baby"), one of the most important aspects of being pop-culture savvy is knowing which movie or show will appeal to which kid (minus the baby, who is still too young for movies). In the same way 'Princess and the Frog' was a better fit for my girl, 'Wimpy Kid' made for a perfect mother-son outing.

Here are three tips if you plan to see the movie, because movies aren't cheap, so you might as well get more out of it than an overdose of popcorn and soda.

Read It & See It: Unlike the 400-700 page 'Harry Potter' books, the book from which 'Diary' was adapted is only 224 pages, and more comic book than full-blown novel. In other words, most kids 8 and up should be able to read it pretty fast. Parents too will get a kick out of the hilarious misadventures of Greg and Rowley. Once you've read the book, talk about the adaptation and debate whether the changes the filmmakers made (most notably adding the character of Angie, the clever and open-minded seventh grader, and expanding the role of nemesis Patty Ferrell) were positive or not.

Liar, Liar: Greg betrays Rowley and expects to be forgiven. Rowley's unexpected but understandable reaction rocks Greg's world and eventually changes his attitude. Greg and Rowley's interaction is a primer of sorts on the do's and don'ts of young friendship. There are just some things you don't do period -- much less to your friends. How does Greg redeem himself to Rowley and to the audience? Is it believable that a tween so fixated on popularity would risk any chance he had at it to save his friend? Discuss.

Comedy Tonight: There's a lot of humor in the story -- some gross (all the pee and booger jokes are definitely a boy thing) and some rather sophisticated (the elaborate "cheese touch" motif is especially memorable). What kind of jokes worked best in the movie, and which ones, if any, fall flat? What's the deal with boys and bodily fluid jokes, anyway? Maybe your son will have the answer (mine just laughed, and laughed, and laughed).

Three to See: Best Boy-Friendly Adaptations
Kids: 'James and the Giant Peach' is one of many classic Roald Dahl books that have been turned into worthwhile movies. Watch as orphaned James befriends magical insects who join him on his dream trip to New York City.

Tweens:
'Bridge to Terabithia' is a beautiful adaptation about an unconditional friendship between an artistic 11-year-old boy and his neighbor, an incredibly imaginative girl. Because of a tragic ending, it may be too disturbing for the under-10 crowd.

Teens:
'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' may only be rated PG (what was the MPAA thinking?), but the latest installment in the Potter movies is half about Harry's intense mission for Dumbledore and half about hormones gone wild at Hogwarts, making it just right for teens.

Also in Theaters:
'Alice in Wonderland'