It's hard to go wrong with the repeatedly proven source material of this beloved series, but this CG animated version lacks some of the charm of the books and the previous live-action films.
It doesn't help that the characters, sketched to look like the drawings in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, have vacant ink-black eyes. It makes them harder to connect to, at least at first. By the end, which comes within the hour, you'll be rooting for the pair as always.
The film looks but doesn't feel like it's targeted at younger kids. Its first half sets middle school up as a seriously mean more than a humorously miserable place.
Things pick up when the boys embark on trick-or-treating adventures with Greg's little brother, complete with Rowley's over-the-top, mom-approved costume, and when Rowley gains status at school for his broken arm.
Greg's revenge visit to Fregley's house is hilariously wacky, though some of the dark humor could go over kids' heads. There might be better adaptations out there, but this one is still sure to draw fans. Disney has already announced a follow-up in the works.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.