Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul **
Dir: David Bowers. With: Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright. 91 mins. Cert: U
Faced with ageing or refusenik performers, the amiable family franchise’s fourth big-screen outing elects for ruthless, root-and-branch recasting. Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott are new and 33% blander as the Heffley elders, while Jason Drucker succeeds Zachary Gordon as eponymous weakling Greg, here caught plotting to reroute the clan’s road trip towards a much-anticipated gaming expo. Returning director David Bowers gives it sporadic pep: there’s a fun Psycho homage, and CG projectile vomit. Yet elsewhere the books’ trademark stick-figure illustrations get converted into banal, overlit, primetime sitcom images, and the endless off-route wheelspinning makes that subtitle lamentably apt. For once, it’ll be the grown-ups asking the kids “Are we there yet?”
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is now playing in cinemas nationwide.