With Christmas just around the corner, almost like clockwork, a flurry of related animated movies and specials are getting released, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise is the latest one to follow suit. Based on the bestselling book series of the same name written by Jeff Kinney, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid animated movie series follows the misadventures of middle-schooler Greg Heffley and his simpleton, good-natured friend Rowley Jefferson. Narrative wise, the third entry in the animated movie trilogy, Cabin Fever, is definitely an improvement over the second entry, Rodrick Rules, and that’s primarily because of the festive charm captured through family dynamics. However, the trademark wit imbued in the source material through Jeff Kinney’s characterization was majorly missing in the movie, which was somewhat balanced out by the heart and an alternate, comparatively better ending than the book. Although the black-and-white line art animation mimicking the book’s original style, which began the prologue montage, fares better than the 3D animation of the movie, in the context of this particular movie, it works just fine.
How Did Greg and Rowley Damage the Snow Plow Truck?
With just two weeks to go until Christmas, Greg is extremely concerned about being at his best to avoid getting on Santa’s naughty list, as he is desperate to get the latest gaming console as his Christmas present. For him, Christmas means upping the ante of gifts; spending time with family, togetherness, and all the ‘boring’ stuff can take a back seat. Greg’s mother, Susan, is already in a jubilant, celebratory mood as her childhood Christmas memories are getting rekindled, and likewise, she is trying to uplift the spirits of her family members for the festive season, to no avail. Greg, however, makes it his duty to drop hints and requests to his mother about his much-desired Christmas present anyway.
While making a snowman outside his house, Greg shares his concerns regarding good conduct and gifts with his best friend, Rowley, who is of the opinion that goodness should not be conditional; we should do good just for the sake of it. However, Greg isn’t able to make much sense of it.
On the street, a snowplow truck gets halted by a bunch of miscreants, who start pestering the truck driver, Gabby by throwing snowballs at her. At the same time, coincidentally, Greg and Rowley unwittingly lose control of the giant snowball they were shaping up, which crashes into the truck, which results in the plow getting detached from it. Afraid of the repercussions, the duo tries to escape the situation, and the driver, considering them to be miscreants as well, chases right after. The duo manages to evade her but realizing that their scarves can help her identify them, they ditch those inside a dumpster in downtown. Rowley shares his sensible opinion of clarifying the entire fiasco by simply talking with the driver, but Greg is too scared of the consequences of doing so, as he assumes that, for damaging public property, they might end up in jail.
Why did Greg try to get his cap back?
Upon his return home, Greg learns that the cap he left in the dumpster has his name sewn inside it and also comes to know that the dumpster was actually a toy donation box, which will eventually be checked by the authorities. Which means that he and Rowley are very much inside the danger zone still. To add to his misery even more, the very next day a wanted poster is issued across their neighborhood, which highlights the two scarf and cap-wearing miscreants whom Gabby had briefly noticed from behind. Scared out of his wits and all out of options, Greg plans to get their belongings back from the donation box to dispose of them and avoid the possibility of detection. He convinces Rowley to join him in his mission of retrieving their stuff the next morning.
Greg’s elder brother, Rodrick, gets really worked up to identify the miscreants in order to get the prize money. Greg, on the other hand, is delighted to find out that his mother has bought the gaming console he wanted so badly, which means merely getting rid of the cap will ensure a smooth sailing to Christmas for him. Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose in the form of a prolonged snowstorm right since the very night, making it impossible for anyone to venture outside in the morning. To Greg’s horror, Rodrick hits upon a plan to use their door security camera to identify the miscreants, but thankfully the townwide blackout prevents him from doing so. The snowstorm continues, forcing everyone to remain inside the house, and Greg’s family members start coping with the situation in different ways. Rodrick gets obsessed with retrieving the security camera footage in his desperation. Greg hallucinates about the creepy-looking doll Elfrendo (Susan’s Christmas charm) being alive, their father Frank gets increasingly paranoid about emergency supplies going missing, and Susan still tries to cheer everyone up. A prolonged continuation of this routine eventually creates a rift among the family, which gets sorted out after Manny, the youngest member of the family, suddenly goes missing and is found in the basement, hoarding the missing supplies. The family members finally cheer up and reconcile with each other, but amidst all this, Greg’s problem remains unresolved as usual.
Did Greg finally get his desired gift?
Like a Christmas miracle, the snowstorm stops right on the night of the eve, and Greg hurriedly ventures out to get to the donation box. En route, he takes Rowley along with him as well, but finds the downtown to be fully submerged in heavy snow, rendering it nearly impossible to locate the donation box. Greg and Rowley dig through the snow to find the box, and in no time they completely clear the downtown street. The duo eventually find the box, and just as Greg tries to retrieve his scarf, a truck arrives, scaring Rowley into fleeing, since he believed it was the cops, leaving Greg alone at the spot.
However, it was Gabby, the truck driver, who was supposed to clear the snow in the downtown area, but after the snowplow broke off from her truck, she had to do it manually. Seeing Greg as having done that on his own, Gabby appreciates his effort and offers to drop him back at his home. Greg has been able to recognize her from the fiasco weeks ago, but Gabby didn’t get a look at his face previously, which is why she remains oblivious to the fact that she was chasing after Greg and Rowley. While returning home, Greg gets engaged in a conversation with Gabby and learns that, as a single mother, she has a hard time making ends meet and took up the snowplow job as a side gig to support her son Tyler’s upbringing. As Greg shares that he will be getting the latest gaming console as a Christmas present, Gabby states that her son Tyler wished to get the same as well, but with her financial condition, she won’t be able to afford it this year. As they arrive at the doorstep of his house, Greg prepares to take his leave, and Gabby notices his scarf. She notices an unmistakable feeling of guilt in Greg’s face and realizes that he was one of the ‘miscreants’ but chooses not to reveal it and parts ways on good terms.
As Greg returns, electricity is restored across the neighborhood as well, and Rodrick is able to connect the dots to ascertain that Greg is one of the so-called miscreants. Greg comes clean in front of his family and shares his confession, much to the surprise of his parents. At the end of Cabin Fever, a police vehicle stops in front of their house, which Greg considers to be sent by Gabby, and panic sets in among the members of the family. In the toughest of times, bonds of relationship are tested, and likewise, Greg’s family tries to cover up the incident from authorities to save him from getting punished for a mistake that was purely accidental and unavoidable. However, it turns out the cops have arrived to collect the toys for donation, as the heavy snowstorm made it impossible for people to reach the drop box. Having a change of heart regarding the priorities of the festive season, Greg donates the gaming console he longs for, and upon his request, the cops deliver it to Gabby and Tyler. Christmas morning turns out to be blissful for everyone, and adhering to the festive spirit of sharing, Greg has been able to become a better person.