A Long Haul that is very short on hu­mour

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Di­rec­tor: David Bow­ers Stars: Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone, Tom Everett Scott, Ja­son Drucker Poor Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone and Tom Everett Scott. Be­tween Clue­less and That Thing You Do! they sep­a­rately fronted two of the most charm­ing and re- watch­able come­dies of the 1990s.

Twenty-odd years later, they have been rel­e­gated to the thank­less task of play­ing dopey sub­ur­ban par­ents in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, a deeply un­funny fam­ily road­trip film that fea­tures grossout jokes to ri­val the R- rated Va­ca­tion re­make.

At least they are spared hav­ing some­one vomit in their mouths. This does hap­pen to an­other char­ac­ter – and di­rec­tor David Bow­ers shows us it in slow-mo­tion. It’s not 3-D, but might as well be.

This is tech­ni­cally the fourth Wimpy Kid film based on car­toon­ist Jeff Kin­ney’s pop­u­lar books about awk­ward mid­dle schooler Greg.

The Long Haul re­boots the se­ries with a new cast, in­clud­ing Sil­ver­stone, Scott, Ja­son Drucker as Greg, an in­ter­net sen­sa­tion, and Char­lie Wright as his 16- year- old brother Ro­drick. They hop in a mini­van, with tod­dler Manny, to travel cross coun­try to a rel­a­tive’s 90th birth­day party. Not only is the Hef­fley amily stuck to­gether in a con­fined space for 47 hours but Mum has banned all their de­vices.

Greg has other things on his mind, though – how to be­come in­ter­net fa­mous. He al­ready is a vi­ral sen­sa­tion, af­ter he was filmed freak­ing out when he in­ad­ver­tently pulls a used nappy out of a ball pit.

He hopes to im­prove his im­age by ap­pear­ing in a video with a PewDiePie- like gamer who will be at a con­ven­tion “two inches away” on the map from where the fam­ily is trav­el­ling to.

It’s an ap­pro­pri­ately vul­gar sub­plot for a story that seems more dis­dain­ful of the messi­ness of the fam­ily ex­pe­ri­ence than cel­e­bra­tory of it. Ac­cord­ing to this movie, nearly ev­ery­thing about fam­ily life is a dis­gust­ing, dispir­it­ing hor­ror show.

The Hef­fleys are forced to en­dure a se­ries of relentless, ever-es­ca­lat­ing in­dig­ni­ties.

It would be nice to think that Sil­ver­stone and Scott might be able to lift any film out of a ditch with their comedic tal­ents. Alas, they are stuck in neu­tral – Sil­ver­stone as an un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated Mum whose forced smiles wob­ble as though she is on the verge of a ner­vous break­down, and Scott as the in­ef­fec­tive pa­tri­arch too scared to tell his wife he hasn’t re­quested hol­i­day time for the trip.

The chil­dren, too, are end­lessly an­noy­ing and barely sym­pa­thetic. The se­ries should go back to the draw­ing board.

Lind­sey Bahr / AP

Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox

Ja­son Drucker as Greg.

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