Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Christmas Cabin Fever (2023) Movie Review – Deserving of a place on Santa’s ‘nice’ list

Deserving of a place on Santa’s nice list

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas. We know this, not only because of the festive decorations emblazoned around our neighbourhoods and the occasional smattering of snow outside but because of the many Christmas-themed movies that have landed on our streaming services.

As is so often the case, many of these movies have failed to evoke the magic and the spirit of Christmas. They are as shallow as the people who care only for the presents they’re going to get on Christmas Day and are bereft of important messages that befit the holiday season. 

The ironically titled Best. Christmas. Ever! (it should have been called Worst. Christmas. Movie) is a prime example but there are others we (and possibly you) could mention too. Thank goodness then for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Christmas Cabin Fever.

If you have only seen the live-action adaptations of Jeff Kinney’s popular book series, which, while decent enough, failed to teach us much of anything, you might be surprised at the messages hidden within the animated adaptations of his works, which have been penned by Kinney himself. 

Beneath the kid-appealing silliness of his stories, there are plentiful themes that resonate with younger readers, such as friendship, loyalty, bullying, and the importance of family. Kinney replicates some of these themes in this adaptation alongside one valuable Christmas message that most parents will want their kids to hear.

So, while this new film, currently streaming on Disney+, is wrapped up with lots of goofy humour, silly antics, and brightly coloured animation, it has a real heart underneath, with deeper significance than the generic festive fare that is streaming elsewhere this Christmas. 

Once again, we return to the world of Greg Heffley who, as expected, goes through several life crises during the film. One such crisis is the possibility that he won’t get a much-sought-after gaming console for Christmas as he is worried that he might be on Santa’s naughty list.

To improve his chances of getting what he wants, he does his best to be good in the final few weeks leading up to Christmas Day. But when he inadvertently damages a snowplough via a ginormous snowman he and his best friend Rowley have made, he thinks he has messed up badly and lost the opportunity to get on Santa’s nice list.

What follows is a series of misadventures as he and Rowley try to dig themselves out of trouble (quite literally in one scene) by covering up their involvement in the incident. Chaos naturally ensues as one mishap follows another, causing Greg to grow increasingly paranoid and insecure during the film’s short running time.

Does Greg get the gift he wants? We aren’t going to reveal that here but there’s a chance you will relate to his plight if you have ever had cause to doubt your chances of getting your most desired item at Christmas.

You might also relate to Greg’s family situation if you have ever been forced to spend the holiday season with relatives who drive you up the wall. This is the other crisis that Greg has to deal with in the film, especially when he and his family get snowed in at home. His parents and younger brother are irritating enough but as you’ll know if you’re a fan of Kinney’s book series, it’s his older brother Rodrick that causes him the most amounts of trouble.

The scenes involving the Hefley family are as funny as the sequences where Greg races around town trying to save his Christmas dreams, and they are all played out in glorious 3D animation that brings to life the illustrations of Kinney’s 2011 novel. Combine these with the hummable soundtrack featuring various Christmassy songs and a comforting wintry setting that adds to the festive mood, and you’ll have a Yuletide treat that will make you laugh one moment and give you cause to reflect on your own behaviour at Christmas the next. 

So, if you’re tired of watching festive movies that are all tinsel and glitter with no real substance, we can recommend this latest entry in the Wimpy Kid series to you. It will teach you and your kids a few important life lessons, without being overly moralising, and it might even fill you with the Christmas spirit in ways that, mercifully, are not cloyingly sentimental. 


Read More: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Christmas Cabin Fever Ending Explained

  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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