I don't think there's a joke to be made about this picture that isn't simplistic, so I'm just going to play the meta-card.
Seeing kids movies alone presents quite the dilemma at times. There's the most obvious concern, which is sitting by myself trying to avoid eye-contact with parents who believe I'm hear to take their children, which in my defense I hardly ever do. Awkward eye-contact, possible switching of seats and muttering seem to ensue, leading me to sink further in my chair and pray for the damn thing to start already. Alternatively there's the critical concern, how fair is it really to criticize a kids movie? Kids have different standards and if it met mine wouldn't it bypass theirs on the way? Not everything can manage The Simpson's balance and frankly you have to wonder why it should even try at times. Sure do appreciate it though, guys.
I don't have much harmful to say to Diary Of A Wimpy Kid really. For what it is its pleasingly not cynical or hollow. It has a consistent tone and some stylistic touches, familiar though they may be. It has solid kid performances from Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron that generally stay on the right side of irritating and if I were ten, I think I would have liked this a lot. Having said that, the ground covered, essentially the nightmare of beginning high school, or middle school or whatnot, doesn't even come close to resembling something new, and if anything it comes close to being a slightly more innocent, slightly less funny version of Drillbit Taylor sans the adult roles. And its not like that movie was The Big Lebowski. But it has a singular voice, as in it doesn't feel it was written via committee, and for a kids movie these days that's something to celebrate.
In a way that seems like apologist criticism, and simply saying that something is good because it isn't as dire as everything else in its field doesn't cut it. But for me if something feels has its own voice, I'm much more liable to be forgiving then say if it just feels like a series of unconnected moments and scenes, each written in debate. So like I said, this movie is harmless. It knows its place, and will no doubt satisfy its intended audience. Which hasn't been me since the millennium, but still. Its not like kids can write these things and if they could, would be weird right.