Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul jumps aboard franchise with fun new cast: review

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long HaulStarring Jason Drucker, Charlie Wright, Owen Asztalos, Tom Everett Scott, Alicia Silverstone. Directed by David Bowers. 92 minutes. Opens May 19 at major theatres. PGLike Cocoon for the preteen set, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid comedy franchise moves into film number four after a five-year break with The Long Haul and a new slate of youthful actors replacing now-adult originals. Social media didn’t pause to consider diarist Greg Heffley with a five o’clock shadow when mounting a #NotMyHeffleys hashtag campaign. Chill, furious texters: this cast is just as fun as the factory-issue. They take over without a hiccup to deliver the same kind of kid-level laughs and slapstick shenanigans that carried Jeff Kinney’s bestselling illustrated kids’ novel series to the big screen.Article Continued BelowJason Drucker (replacing Zachary Gordon) gives 12-year-old Wimpy Kid Greg a touch of world-weariness while Charlie Wright trades some of Rodrick’s meanness for added laughs with even more d’uh factor as the dim-bulb older brother. Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott are now in the thankless Susan and Frank parental roles.Susan comes up with a great idea for a family summer road trip to visit the boys’ meemaw (grandma) for her 90th birthday. And she’s confiscating their phones, including husband Frank’s, to ensure maximum bonding time on the long drive.Anchoring the car-seat role is troublesome 3-year-old baby brother Manny (twins Dylan and Wyatt Walters), who is occasionally the smartest one in the bunch.A family lunch at a goofy theme restaurant sets Greg up for major humiliation when an incident in the ball pit makes him a combination Internet meme and laughingstock. Redemption could come via a new viral video to replace bad memories, if only he could manage to detour the vacation route to a Player’s Expo convention to meet his gamer hero. And maybe there’s something in it for Rodrick.