Rodrick Rules: An Unhealthy Message?

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So I don’t watch movies often – I usually end up being dragged along by some extenuating circumstance. Today, I watched Rodrick Rules with my cousins who I babysit. I expected next to nothing – as popular as these books are, I’m not a big follower or reader of graphic novels, even when they include some form of a story.

I’ll spare you a summary of the movie and most of my thoughts on it, but a couple of things bothered me that I feel like writing about briefly.

1) In the initial skating scene, Greg mentions the “pecking order” of middle school. He does this because one of his peers, an Indian boy, tells him that a girl Greg likes is out of his league. The mention of the pecking order annoyed me. I mean, yes, I go to high school, and I’m aware that there is a “social ladder” – some choose to acknowledge it, I don’t. But the thing that bothers me about it is that the audience of this movie (generally preteens? I saw some younger kids too) is going to assume that middle school and high school is all about fitting in and assimilating to peer pressure, as opposed to their academics and extra-curricular activities, which actually plays an important part in their future. Ten years after high school, no one will care about what ruined your suit at prom or why you broke up with that hotshot quarterback.

2) The teasing. Oh, this irked me. Greg and the Indian boy I mentioned in the last paragraph are not portrayed the most popular bunch in their seventh grade class. Greg, in order to save himself from embarrassment, pretends as if the Indian boy ceases to exist, even when he’s in plain sight. Such a cruel joke – it really saddened me to see that. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had personal experiences with bullying or if it’s just the harshness of the action. What’s even worse is that instead of resolving the conflict, the Indian boy decides to prank Greg back, fueling the fire even more. By the end of the movie the character conflict between the two seems to disappear completely, but I feel as if kids and preteens who saw that might assume that bullying is okay, when it’s really not.

Sorry for the rant – it’s almost midnight, what do you expect? As a disclaimer, I would like to say that I’m sure there are worse movies out there and that it probably wasn’t the producer’s intention to perpetuate the middle school/high school stereotype. In fact, I liked Rodrick Rules – it was cute and humorous, and there were positive themes as well: the relationship between brothers, why you shouldn’t lie to your parents, and the importance of friendship.

Devon Bostick, the actor who plays Rodrick - I liked his look with the eyeliner he borrowed from his mom... (image via


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4 responses to “Rodrick Rules: An Unhealthy Message?

  1. I really hope it’s better than the first movie. I saw parts of the first one and it was so stupid. 90% of the humor was crap only a five year old would (should) think is funny.

    • My aunt and cousins said they enjoyed this one more than the first one – I didn’t see the first one, so I wouldn’t know. Some of the humor was clearly intended for a younger audience, though.

  2. Joan

    I am a teenager and saw this with my younger sister and mom. I have to say, it was really good! All of us (my sister, my mom, and I) like it so much, we saw it in theatres twice (on different days, I might add) Yes, some of the humor was a bit immature, but I should put emphasis on “some”. I recently showed this movie to my grandparents and even they laughed along. I think the reason why I loved it so much was because there was more Rodrick. Rodrick was really the best character, he was funny and clever, not to mention he looks really hot with the guyliner. Yeah, so I think I saw it twice basically for my attraction to Devon Bostick and for the oh-so-awesome talent show scene.
    With all that said, you should really see this movie. It’s funny, and the whole thing about it promoting bullying or whatever is kinda a little much. I didn’t get that message at all from this movie. See this, u will not regret it 🙂

    • Yeah, I suppose those who enjoy slapstick humor targeted to a younger audience will like this movie. I myself grew tired of it after the first thirty minutes, so I started analyzing it instead… you’re right that it might have been a little much. (;

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