Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Directed by: David Bowers Cast: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Steve Zahn, Rachael Harris Running Time: 1 hr 34 mins Rating: PG Release Date: August 3, 2012
PLOT: School is out and Greg (Gordon) and wants to play video games all summer. When his dad (Zahn) wants him to get motivated, Greg creates a series of lies.
WHO'S IT FOR? Do you have a kid who has trouble listening? Are you a lazy parent looking for any sort of entertainment to do the parenting for you? You've found your trilogy!
For as long as I can remember (the last three years), I've had one night ruined because of these Wimpy movies. The main problem with the films is that it has nothing to do with looking or feeling wimpy. Gordon once again plays Greg Heffley as an arrogant, selfish, lying, bratty kid. What's surprising is, this time I didn't want to stab myself in the eyes with my pen. That's right, the third film in this "trilogy" is the best. It's almost nearly watchable. By the time they make the 12th film in this series, it will finally fall into the category of "good."
This film has a little bit more of a message than the others. Own your mistakes, and learn from your mistakes.
One reason why Dog Days is better is because it's less ambitious, and overall pretty lazy. The jokes are telegraphed, ordinary and somewhat innocent.
Greg is now in 8th grade. He wants to spend the summer playing video games. His dad, Frank, wants him to act like the neighbor kids who play outside. The problem is Frank doesn't really want to have to talk to his son in order to achieve this. One of the ignorant missteps the movie makes is that Greg's mom Susan (Harris) knows that he's just sitting around playing video games. This doesn't stop Greg from going to great lengths to fool his dad, even though Mom could easily spill the beans. Eventually Greg needs to get out of the house and tags along with Rowley (Capron) to the country club. The film drools over the elite lifestyle of those lucky enough to gain access to country clubs. Be ready for your kid to want unlimited smoothies and avoid the public pool. Greg has a crush on a girl and lies to her in an attempt to win her heart. There are more lies when Frank and Greg join a Boy Scout-like group. Bostick is back as Greg's older brother Rodrick. He's also hoping to woo a girl. There are many failed jokes, and failed messages in the film. Even Zahn getting more screen time than the other films doesn't help.
Here's a joke ... Frank and Greg go fishing. Greg opens the can of worms, is shocked to find worms, and throws them all overboard.
Here's another ... Susan wants a group of 8th grade boys to read "Little Women." There's no effort or any sort of set-up, like perhaps she longs for a girl (instead of three boys), and is misguided in her attempt. Nothing.
One more joke ... Greg's swimsuit falls off. He's stuck in the pool. Finally, he asks an employee, who is holding two towels, if he could pass Greg the small, pink, girl's swimsuit bottom. There is no mention that Greg could have just asked for the towels.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is lazy, but I didn't hate it. I even chuckled three times. That's a big leap for me, considering how much venom I had with the first two installments (here's my Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules review). Luckily, it's still lazy enough, with a pretty weak message to make Diary of a Wimpy Kid my least favorite trilogy of all time.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10