It was a rainy Tuesday evening in Saint Louis, and a local theater was offering $5 tickets including free popcorn, so my wife and I took the kids to see the latest installment of the DOAWK franchise. While I haven’t read any of the books, I definitely enjoyed the first three Diary movies, so I was certainly excited to see this newest film.
First off, seeing all different actors playing previously established characters was a bit odd, but once I got past that it was okay. I prefer the original cast as a whole, but I won’t get nitpicky here–to each his own. Secondly, I feel like I must warn you (if the previous movies don’t serve as a tip-off or if perhaps you are new to this story), there is a lot of what I would call “bathroom humor” present here. So if farting and belching really isn’t your thing, you may want to steer clear of this movie. I happen to think that sort of stuff is hilarious (because I’m a 5 year old trapped in an adult body), so I enjoyed the opportunity to laugh at the copious jokes of that ilk. And boy did I. Hard.
If you’re heading to see this movie, you probably know what you’re in for before you enter the theater. That said, I won’t give away any specifics or spoil the plot for anyone other than to say this is the ultimate nightmare of a road trip. If it could go wrong, it does, and the Heffley family finds themselves smack-dab in the midst of chaos at every turn. While the movie overall is pretty unrealistic in terms of some of the situations the Heffley’s find themselves in, I found myself not caring and just enjoying the ride (pun intended.)
While there was little to no “spiritual enrichment” taking place in this movie, it ultimately had a positive message. This movie is built on the premise that enjoying the journey is often more important than reaching the destination. It also pointed out that both kids and parents need to work harder to understand each other’s point of view and do their best to meet in the middle on common ground–something both I (and my kids) needed to be reminded of. At the end of the day, family is all you have. And if you’re anything like me, it would be easy to squander the time you get with them. While I certainly hope to never have a road trip “adventure” anywhere close to that of the Heffley family in The Long Haul, I do hope to create memorable experiences for my kids where we can enjoy each other’s company. Because, like it or not, those opportunities will too quickly be gone. And who knows…maybe we’ll just get a pet pig. Or not.
What about you–what is the worst thing that has ever happened to you on a family road trip? For those of you that have seen the movie, what did you think?