Good for ages 12 and under and viewed with family. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days might get you panting for Greg (Zachary Gordon) to quit playing video games and find some outdoors adventures for the summer, but he gets past the boob tube quickly enough. Rowley (Robert Capron) is the best friend with the country club connections. Rodrick (Devon Bostick) is the mimbo brother (read: male bimbo) and wannabe rocker who crashes in on little bro’s territory. Holly (Peyton List) is the tennis ace blonde willing to teach our hero a few harmless strokes. The adult viewers’ complaint is that there are too many side adventures that stretch the film out, and that the movie has “wimpy” in the title.
It’s not brought up at all that Greg is a wimp and that here is a teenager who is at the right stage to move past that insecurity. Certainly his outdoorsy but clumsy dad (Steve Zahn) wishes his son could throw a football better or hang a tent as efficiently as a boy scout. Mom (Rachael Harris) is content enough with starting her sons in a “Reading is Fun” club. At least to avoid that option, the boys find the exclusive country club swimming pool.
I do wish that Greg had learned a little more tennis. But this movie’s jibe is show the activity, show the attempt at fun, Win or Epic-Fail. The humorous carnival adventure with the big-boy rides is almost a demystification of wimpiness, and the fretting parents instilling guilt into the children is less smarmy lesson-making than shameless over-exaggerated comedy. Also, I was also glad that Greg is into a good girl like Holly, who may be blonde but is a genuine sweetheart. Nothing terribly fake with her. Maybe in the next sequel, Greg can invite Holly over to his house for supper.
94 Minutes. Rated PG.
FAMILY MOVIE / GOOFY / WEEKEND MORNING MOVIE
Film Cousins: “The Sandlot” (1993); “Heavyweights” (1995); “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (2010); “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” (2011).