The Heffley family attends a party at a roller rink, where Greg Heffley reunites with his best friend Rowley Jefferson, meets a new girl at school named Holly Hills who Greg instantly has a crush on, and reveals he passed on the Cheese Touch. During the party, his older brother Rodrick embarrasses Greg by suggesting that he ask Holly to skate with him and then interfering with Couples Skate by persuading a crowd of violent teenagers to enter the rink, along with replacing "Always" by Atlantic Starr with a heavy metal song. This prompts Greg's parents (who misunderstand this) to speak to Greg on the rink's public address system and then carry him off the rink. Greg, extremely angry with Rodrick for humiliating him, tries to tackle him, but he misses and in turn, lands in Taylor Pringle's birthday cake. She and her friends then proceed to beat up Greg as the intro starts.
Rodrick and Greg's mother, Susan Heffley, makes an effort to have them bond by going in their bedroom and doing some things together by using her methods called "Mom Bucks", but it makes things worse as Rodrick cheats her system. One day, a school talent show is advertised on TV; in which Rowley sees it as an opportunity to perform magic, and Rodrick sees it as the band's big break. However, Greg rejects the idea of doing the magic.
At church, Greg and Rodrick are grounded after a scuffle, causing Susan to get upset about what others think of her, and her family's reputation being ruined; after which, they are forbidden to go to the water park, nor inviting people over, and told that they must bond. However, Rodrick does the opposite, and throws a party. Though, this party causes Rodrick to be more friendly and open towards Greg.
The next morning, Susan calls and says that they will be home in one hour. Rodrick and Greg hastily erase all the evidence, but find out that the bathroom door is painted on with a graffiti; therefore, they replace the door, but Greg finds out that the replacement door doesn't have a lock like the last door. Rodrick convinces Greg to deny everything as their parents arrive. Susan however, later slowly began to discovers the difference and questions the two brothers. Though Rodrick denies this, Greg nearly reveals the truth and convinces Susan to not to punish Rodrick. Convinced that Greg didn't reveal about the party, Rodrick starts bonding with him as a gesture of gratitude.
One night, they are finally exposed when their father Frank Heffley comes across photos of the party and the Heffley's reputation is ruined again, and no one will support Susan's articles about siblings bonding. Greg and Rodrick both get grounded, which includes Rodrick not being allowed to participate in the school talent show. Their punishment is to stay at the retirement home with their Grandpa is staying, in which Greg finds out that Holly is visiting her grandmother. Holly tells Greg that she can relate to Greg about siblings giving her a hard time; however, siblings will eventually get over it. Holly also reveals she is more patient and mature than her siblings.
The next day, to humiliate Greg, Rodrick reads and steals Greg's diary — in which Greg has written about his crush on Holly — and attempts to hand it over to Holly. Greg, with only his underwear on, chases after Rodrick and takes the diary back, but inadvertently hides in the women's restroom and when Greg returns, Rodrick reveals to Greg that he tapes the whole incident.
At the talent show a few nights later, Rodrick finds out that he has been booted from the band by Bill Walter, a band member who recently joined; Rowley isn't able to perform his magic tricks due to his partner having stage fright. Greg, with a change of heart, helps Rowley and Rodrick out by participating in Rowley's magic act in return for allowing Rodrick to perform his band act. The magic act is praised by Holly and the crowd, but people are unimpressed by Rodrick's music act until Susan starts dancing, then the crowd joins in. Frank tapes the entire footage of Susan dancing, agreeing with Greg to keep it a secret. Rodrick kicks Bill out of the band in retaliation for attempting to replace him, and he gives Greg the tape from the retirement home in return for making it possible for him to participate, symbolizing that they are not only brothers, but also friends.
In a mid-credits scene, Greg and Rowley have just finished posting the video that Frank shot of Rodrick's music act with Susan dancing on YouTube, and it goes viral, making Greg and Rowley an internet sensation. However, an enraged Rodrick, having seen the video, shouts at Greg off-screen, that he is "so dead."Zachary Gordon as Gregory "Greg" Heffley
Devon Bostick as Rodrick Heffley, Greg's older brother
Robert Capron as Rowley Jefferson, Greg's childish best friend
Connor and Owen Fielding as Manny Heffley, Greg's little brother who loves to tattle on him
Rachael Harris as Susan Heffley, Greg's mother
Peyton List as Holly Hills, Greg's love interest and friend
Karan Brar as Chirag Gupta, one of Greg's friends
Steve Zahn as Frank Heffley, Greg's father
Fran Kranz as Bill Walter, a member of Rodrick's band
Grayson Russell as Fregley, one of Greg's weird classmates
Laine MacNeil as Patty Farrell, Greg's arch-enemy since kindergarten
Terence Kelly as Grandpa Heffley, Frank's father and Greg's grandfather
Belita Moreno as Mrs. Norton, a teacher at Greg's middle school
Andrew McNee as Coach Malone, Greg's gym teacher
Alf Humphreys as Mr. Jefferson, Rowley's father who dislikes Greg
Jakob Davies as Scotty Douglas, Rowley's assistant who was replaced by Greg due to stage fright
Dalila Bela as Taylor Pringle, a girl who celebrated her birthday at the roller-skating rink
Brad Simpson stated he anticipated a sequel movie if the first film is a success. "Our writing staff are writing a sequel right now, "Rodrick Rules," which would be based on the second book" ... "And, you know, we hope that the people to see a second movie, so that we are in position of going again right away and making another film. I certainly know that the fans would like to see all the books made into movies." Fox 2000 greenlit the sequel and Zachary Gordon returned as Greg Heffley. Steve Zahn (Frank Heffley) and Rachael Harris (Susan Heffley) will also return. The film was directed by David Bowers and the screenplay was written by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah. Principal photography began in Vancouver August 2010. A few new characters appeared in the film, including Peyton List as Holly Hills. The trailer was seen with Gulliver's Travels. The website created for the first was updated for the sequel featuring pictures of the cast and a short synopsis of the film. The film was released on March 25, 2011. Talks of a sequel were announced after the release of the first, but was not officially announced until May 12, 2010, announcing that it would be released March 25, 2011. Filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia and New Westminster, British Columbia from August 23 to October 27, 2010. The mall scene was filmed at Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver. Director Thor Freudenthal was replaced by director David Bowers (Flushed Away and Astro Boy).
The film's trailer was shown with Gulliver's Travels on December 25, 2010. It was later online on January 3, 2011. A poster was released there after on January 14, 2011. In February 2011, an exclusive online-only trailer was released on the "Wimpy Kid Movie" YouTube channel, officialwimpmovie. Due to the success of the first film in Singapore, the film was released there eight days before the US release on March 17, 2011. The film was released in Brazil on September 16, 2011. A TV spot of the movie was released in March 2011.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was released on a stand-alone DVD, a special edition double DVD pack, and a Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo pack on June 21, 2011. One of the bonus shorts was shown during iParty with Victorious on Nickelodeon at 8:00 PM on June 11, 2011.
The film made $7.3 million on its opening day, ranking #2 behind Sucker Punch. The film managed to rank #1 in the weekend box office. In the UK, the film debuted at #3 in the weekend box office behind Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Hangover Part II. The film eventually grossed $52,698,535 in the US/Canada and $19,718,859 in other countries for a worldwide total of $72,417,394.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 47% based on 98 reviews and an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Moderately witty and acceptably acted, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 isn't much worse than the first installment." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review saying, "Director David Bowers keeps things peppy and brightly lighted, but the movie's swiftest pleasures come from moment-seizing cast members." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it a positive review saying, "A little less wimpy, gives value lessons to the watchers from the cast, and still pretty funny" and a B rating. Pete Hammond of Boxoffice magazine gave it a mixed review stating "Even better than the first edition, in its own sitcom-ish ways." However, Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave it a negative review (38 on Metacritic), stating "You can't fault the filmmakers for reshaping a diary into a cohesive film. You can however, fault them for taking one of the great antiheroes in preteen literature and turning him into, well, an even wimpier kid."