An entertaining, silly, and fun holiday movie for the whole family, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever delivers big laughs thanks to Greg Heffley and his outrageous Christmas hijinks.
Diary of A Wimpy Kid Christmas Cabin Fever Review
It's Christmas time and Greg Heffley (Wesley Kimmel) is trying his hardest (sorta) to be on his best behavior. Not because he wants to be good but because he wants this year's ultimate gaming system. His plan for making it on the nice list goes awry when he and his best friend Rowley (Spencer Howell) accidentally damage a snowplow. Sure it was an accident, but running from their mistake and lying about it definitely puts Greg in naughty territory. Worried he will be found out, Greg devises a scheme to escape judgement but then a snowstorm hits, forcing everyone to shelter at home. Now he has to deal with his parents, a grumpy Rodrick, annoying little Manny, and worst of all his mom's elf (on the shelf), Santa's Scout who always seems to be watching his every move.
Loosely based on the 2011 Wimpy Kid book Cabin Fever, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever goes big for Greg's blunder, meaning the stakes are higher and the laughs are bigger. A jab at parents who do the whole creepy elf bit here and some life lessons about the real meaning of Christmas there, Cabin Fever is an entertaining, silly, and fun holiday movie for the whole family. This is also the third animated outing of author Jeff Kinney's books and the first one not to already have a live-action counterpart, which means it gets to stand on its own merit. Coincidentally, it comes off as the best of the three so far, partly for being fresh and partly because it is clear Kinney and his team have found the sweet spot between source material and adaptation. The tweaks he made to the original story will delight fans looking for a surprise twist while movie-only fans will be excited for more Heffley chaos.
It wouldn't be a Christmas movie without a lesson thrown in about kindness and caring. Like most children, he is concerned with his gifts, trying to hedge his bets with his parents by being nice while also attempting to locate his presents, specifically the gaming system. His paranoia about being caught is enhanced thanks to a creepy elf who is seemingly everywhere all at once, watching Greg like a googly-eyed hawk. Greg's hyper-focus on the gift and trying to cover all his tracks leads to the realization that not everyone is as fortunate as he is. There are many kids out there who would love the “lame” clothes he fears he will get under the tree.
Greg Heffley might be the last person you would think of when it comes to heartfelt messages but that's exactly what happens. However, it's not out of character nor heavy handed when it comes. In fact Greg even makes a comment about how just because this happened one time doesn't mean we should expect it again. It's not only accurate to Greg's personality but to children in general. They make both good and bad decisions–paying it forward with kindness one day and being selfish the next. It is all part of growing up and in that the message here in Cabin Fever feels genuine.
Cabin Fever also sneaks in some lessons about family. The previous film, Rodrick Rules saw the brothers learning how to be better siblings. This time around the story goes broader to include all the Heffleys, to address another traditional holiday genre theme– the importance of family. Again though it is done in the most Wimpy Kid way possible which makes it realistic. The Heffleys are stuck together for what feels like forever. Greg wants nothing more than to be away from them, something I think we can all relate to after being stuck in our homes during 2020. But just like we did, Greg sees that this time isn't necessarily a curse, that situations are what you make them. Without spoiling anything, Greg realizes his family isn't so bad after an encounter with another person who has a family situation Greg never thought about before.
Heartwarming stuff aside, this film is packed with Wimpy Kid hijinks and silly fun. As the days snowed in continue, watching the trust breakdown inside the Heffley home earns some of the film's biggest laughs. Especially when dad loses it over some canned yams and everyone is forced to use one square of one-ply toilet paper. ONE-PLY. I can't even imagine. Santa's Scout aka the elf gives a lighthearted horror element to the overall tone. Is he real? Or is it just Greg's imagination? The animation pops once again, bringing Kinney's drawings to life and pacing overall feels more even than in the previous two films.
Ultimately, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever is another entertaining win for the Wimpy Kid fandom. It's silly and funny, with a touch of sweetness. Families can enjoy it together, sharing laughs as the chaos unfolds on screen. It might even lead to conversations about what you would do if you were snowed in with your family. What canned food are we hoarding kids? Whether you are aiming for the nice list or not, this is definitely one to add to your holiday film rotation list.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever is now streaming on Disney+. It is rated PG for mild rude humor with a runtime of 64 minutes.