Rated: PG

Distributed By:

20th Century Fox

Directed by:

David Bowers (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules)

Starring:

Zachary Gordon as Greg; Devon Bostick as Rodrick; Robert Capron as Rowley; Steve Zahn as Frank Heffley; Rachael Harris as Susan Heffley; Peyton List as Holly; Melissa Roxburgh as Heather

Adapted From:

Plugged In Online

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

It’s summer. Greg Heffley plans to grab a giant bag of chips, a six-pack of soda, a good-sized chunk of living room floor and play him some video games. Day and night, night and day. Video games, 24/7.

Of course, his dad decides that Greg needs to get outside more. So he signs the kid up for Wilderness Scouts and a Civil War reenactment that they can do together. Woo-hoo, a day with old bearded men in horsehair underwear! Meanwhile, Mom has him writing book reports on (ugh!) Little Women.

While joining his friend Rowley for a splash at the pool, Greg comes up with Perfect Summer Plan No. 2: He’ll lie. He’ll tell his folks he got a summer job at the club! It ain’t video games, but it ain’t bad either . . . especially with his school crush, Holly, showing up from time to time.

But when Greg’s older brother/troublemaker Rodrick insists on sneaking into the club, too, things get complicated. Can Greg keep all of his lies straight and still have a perfect summer?

Mom and Dad don’t seem to be quite as clueless as they’ve been in the earlier Wimpy Kid films. We see them trying to give Greg a memorable summer, not a miserable one. After Greg finally takes responsibility for his mistakes and apologizes, he and his dad have a sincere heart-to-heart. They eventually find several things to bond over—including a shared dislike of a comic strip.

Summer at the pool means several shots of skimpy swimsuits (although Holly wears a one-piece). A mishap on the diving board lands Greg in the pool without his trunks. Greg also walks through a locker room trying not to look at all the hairy men.

A tennis game turns comically violent. Rodrick’s rock ‘n’ roll antics with his band, Löded Diper, destroy a young girl’s party. And a camping trip ends with a tent on fire.

With a title like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, name-calling is inevitable.

Dog Days has less slobber than previous films in the series. We still get lies, plenty of toilet humor and some puppy love. But this time, the kids take responsibility for their misdeeds, and accept the consequences. Indeed, a major theme of the movie is living up to your choices and learning from them.

Kinney's stick-figure books are a better fit for his hero’s crazy “booger-urine-poop-fart” shenanigans than live-action movies. But at least this flesh-and-blood version remembered to include some heart.

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com