This kid's not all right, he's a drip


Directed by David Bowers. Starring Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Peyton List G cert, general release, 93 min

ONE MAY as well lie down in front of a rampaging rhino as attempt to halt the advance of the Wimpy Kid films. Based on livelier books by Jeff Kinney, the first two movies powered their way towards massive takings at the box office. It’s all a bit depressing.

Parents may puzzle at the oddness of SpongeBob, say, but that project is at home to bracing degrees of anarchy. As the Wimpy Kid films have progressed, they have become steadily less quirky and consistently more conformist. When did kids become so gosh- darned boring?

The latest finds the protagonist, a self-conscious youngster, facing up to summer in some anonymous suburban hell. In order to get close to a pretty girl, he begins sneaking into the local country club with his gormless, pudding-bowl-haired chum. A surprisingly busy hive of subplots festers in the undergrowth: the threat of private schooling, fallings out with his chum’s parents, disturbances in his older brother’s rock band.

The acting is adequate. The outbreaks of animation, though too sparse, are competently carried off. It ends before it outstays its welcome.But the thing is just so infuriatingly drab and bourgeois. What happened to madness? What happened to rebellion? Oh, what’s the bloody point? Nobody’s listening.