CineMatters: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

By on July 11, 2011

Bickering Brothers Bond Over Band’s Big Break

By Laura Gray

Your daughter is thrilled when the girl next door in your new neighborhood invites her to a baseball game. Turns out she’s a huge fan and she never misses a home game. But one game soon turns into three games a week and your daughter – who is not a baseball fan – must make a decision: keep faking her interest in the games or level with her new friend.

She chooses honesty. The friend is surprised that your daughter does not share her love of baseball after all. They find they have nothing in common and soon the friendship fizzles.

Your daughter learns that relationships built on dishonesty never last. Just like the young hero of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, she discovers that real friendship comes from mutual love and respect. Now available on DVD, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is the perfect choice for a family movie night this summer. Enjoy it together and then discuss the family dynamics the film portrays with our Talk Together conversation starters.

In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, middle-schooler Greg and his older brother, Rodrick, are given an ultimatum by their mother: get along or else! She’s tired of their constant bickering and prank-pulling. Instead, she offers them money if they will just hang out and be friends. Rodrick and Greg “play nice” in front of their parents but, in reality, they are still at odds with each other. Their parents are impressed with the apparent change in their relationship – until they discover the boys threw a party while Mom and Dad were away for the weekend. They are punished and Rodrick is not allowed to perform with his band, Loded Diper, in the local talent show. He is devastated.

Greg, seeing his brother’s disappointment, makes a deal with their mom that allows the band to perform. Rodrick is touched, and the two brothers turn their manufactured friendship into one based on genuine love and respect.

Talk Together

Rodrick spends a lot of time and effort making Greg’s life miserable. Why do you think he is so mean to his brother? How does

his behavior affect their relationship? How do you feel when your own sibling treats you badly? If your brother or sister is with you right now, tell him or her what that feels like.

Greg and Rodrick’s mom thinks rewarding her sons with money for their good behavior is the way to turn around their relationship.

Why doesn’t her plan work? What are some more positive ways she could encourage her sons to get along?

Can someone force you to be “friends” with someone you don’t like? Why or why not? Think about your own friends. What do they do that lets you know they really like you? How do you communicate your love to them?

Greg thinks he is sacrificing his own dignity by serving as Rowley’s assistant during his magic act. What happens instead? Why did Greg agree to help Rowley? What did his move communicate to Rodrick about how he views their relationship?

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