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Charlie Wright, left, Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett star in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.Daniel McFadden

The fourth and worst film in the long-running franchise spun off from author Jeff Kinney's bestselling kiddie books trades in once-novel musings on growing up awkward for tiresome clichés and gross-out gags more at home in a Farrelly brothers effort. Middle-schooler Greg (Jason Drucker) gets forced into going on a cross-country trip in the family minivan to visit Grandma for her 90th birthday. Gags involving overheating engines, broken sunroofs, smelly farts, uncouth fellow travellers and projectile vomiting ensue. Packed with stilted performances and hackneyed jokes from the road-movie playbook, it doesn't work unless you've never seen another film in your life. In smaller, episodic chunks, this would still be annoying, but more forgivable than foisting this on hard-working families paying money to see it in a theatre. It's also so cynical and mean-spirited that it makes a better case for birth control than the joys of familial togetherness. It's a toxic misstep from a once-reliable series.

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