“Diary of a Wimpy Kid" hit theatres this weekend, and one could easily glance over another comic-to-film blockbuster attempt, but this one has heart. Jeff Kinney, author of the "Wimpy Kid" book series, created Greg Heffley , who is the books’ sixth grade hero, in a sketchbook in 1998 while working his day job at the Family Education Network, which creates web sites for children. After years of drawing, cutting, pasting, scanning and uploading, the project became a massive 1,300-page online epic. When a publisher took a liking to it, it morphed into a traditional book and sold enough to soar to the top spot on The New York Times best-seller list, according to MSNBC.

For Heffley, school is a series of obstacles, where he must navigate through prepubescent humiliation and failure while trying to climb the ladder of popularity. “I’ll be famous one day,” notes Heffley in the first book, “but for now I’m stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons.”

The movie is a refreshing twist away from the "chosen one" plotline many films have taken to when kids are being portrayed, evident in such films as "Harry Potter" and "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice." “There are plenty of kids in children’s literature who are miniaturized adults, who always act heroically,” says author Jeff Kinney, an executive producer on the film. “I wanted to create a character who’s more relatable. He’s not a bad kid, but he’s not a fully formed human being. All the humor comes from his flaws. One of the producers compared Greg to a young Larry David [from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”]. His character acts sort of despicably but gets you to root for him anyway. That’s the trick.”

Now, what’s left to see is whether or not people will respond positively to a more realistic character or long for the flights of fantasy. "I’m very proud of the finished product, and I think it’s a great translation of the book and my characters," Kinney said. "What the movie adds is an emotional component that’s not really there in my books. You come to really care about the relationship between Greg and Rowley. I’ve seen it five times now, and I’m always moved at the end," he said.

About The Author

Kelly Eisenbarger is a Blast intern

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