Australian Council on Children and the Media

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The long haul

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Parental guidance recommended under 8 due to scenes that might scare under fives, coarse language and crude humour.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The long haul
  • a review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The long haul completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 July 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Parental guidance recommended due to scenes that might scare this age group, coarse language and crude humour.
Children aged 5 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to coarse language and crude humour.
Children aged 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The long haul
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild crude humour and coarse language
Length 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The long haul is the fourth film in the series of movies based on the popular novels by author Jeff Kinney. It follows young Greg Heffley (Jason Drucker) who is frustrated at the thought of needing to spend time with his family over summer when he’d much prefer to be having fun with friends. However, his mother Alice (Alicia Silverstone) has organised a family road trip across the country in order to visit Greg’s great-grandmother for her birthday. Although Alice informs Greg that he will need to give up his phone and other technology for the trip, Greg tries his best to escape the clutches of his family in an effort to attend a nearby gaming convention.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family and relationships; responsibility; technology; adventure and fun

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is limited violence in the film, including:

  • Characters hear a loud bang at one point, and are concerned it may have been a gun being fired – this is not the case.
  • There is a car chase which leads to a car accident but no one is seriously injured.
  • When a character feeds a seagull while sitting in the car, the car is swarmed by many other birds shortly after – the characters attempt to protect themselves with their arms from the onslaught.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  •  The film depicts a hotel that has been infested with insects and cockroaches, which disgusts and frightens the characters.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • X-Box gaming console
  • New Balance shoes
  • Uber

Sexual references

A young child finds a bra in another’s suitcase

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in the film, including:

  • Exclamations such as 'hell’ and ‘oh my god’
  • Insults, such as ‘fat’, ‘stupid’, and ‘loser’
  • Considerable humour involving bodily functions and characters being disgusted (eg in relation to ‘pee’, ‘vomit’, etc).

In a nutshell

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The long haul is the latest in this popular series based on the books of the same names. It is an enjoyable film that emphasises the importance of standing by one’s family and loved ones, even when the desire to do so is not always there. The film highlights the rewarding nature of family relationships when time and energy are invested into them, and additionally explores the notion that others are always capable of being surprising in what they can offer. There are a few scenes that might worry under-fives and parental guidance is recommended for children under 8 due to coarse language and crude humour.

Parents may wish to discuss:

  • the scenes where adults are seen driving in a car while using their phones 
  • effective communication between parents and children, and how to have conversations in a respectful but assertive manner.

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