Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
20th Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Color Force and TCF Vancouver Productions present a 94 minute, PG, family comedy directed by David Bowers and written by Gabe Sachs, Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky and Jeff Kinney with a theater release date of August 3, 2012.
It’s a hot summer day and Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) is out at the public pool with his parents Frank (Steve Zahn) and Susan (Rachael Harris) along with his brothers Manny (Connor and Owen Fielding), the youngest of the two and Rodrick (Devon Bostick) the older brother with a motive to cause trouble for Greg. I remember the public pool when I was a kid, a place to hang out with family and friends, dirty diapers, floating food amongst other things and of course the open fly policy of peeing in the water. Oh they said the chlorine will kill any bacteria! Yeah right that is if the chlorine survives the invasion of a hundred toddlers and loose bowels. Like Greg I try to opt out of public pools even now as an adult!
It’s the final day of school and Greg is all ready to leave seventh grade behind and spend the summer playing video games. One problem, he knows his father expects more out of him. Greg’s best friend is Rowley Jefferson (Robert Capron) and the apple of Greg’s eye is Holly Hills (Peyton List). It just so happens that Rodrick also has a crush on one of the Hills girls, Heather (Melissa Roxburgh) but this girl doesn’t give him or anyone for that matter the time of day. Her sweet sixteen is approaching and like every day the world revolves around her and no one else. Remember the last day of school when we all ran around asking friends to sign our yearbook? Greg finally gets up the nerve to ask Holly but before she finishes writing her phone number someone sweeps her away and 555-42 later the quest is on for Greg to get the rest of her number. You think he’d just ask but you know how young love can be and of course what better way to draw out a scene!
Dad decides to keep Greg busy for the summer and prove that he is the perfect role model. Well, that didn’t quite work out and Frank has one thing in mind for his son, SPAG Union Preparatory School. Ok, so why not just send your child to the army? As an act of maturity Greg announces he got a job at the Plainview Heights Country Club but Rodrick knows better and a bribe later becomes part of the cover-up. Back to dad’s bright ideas and add on another member to the Heffley family. No Susan isn’t pregnant but the house is not a home without a pet and here is the introduction of Sweetie, the dog. The director throws in some typical doggy moments, one beefy one in particular but tends to under-utilize the canine in the story line thereafter.
Wilderness Explorers, Gentle Cove – Serenity by the Sea, the Cranium Shaker and Loded Diapers, not to forget Camp Chipanook and the muddy hand, all this and more have made Greg’s summer complete. Full of a life time of memories with his family, best friend and the girl he admires but like that special day when you turn sweet sixteen some things are better off forgotten and some things are not. Like a scene from “Carrie”, Heather’s coming of age party, Chocolate included, will always be a day to remember. Oh baby! As for Greg he realizes that honesty is the best policy and that family and true friends will last forever.
I actually enjoyed the last film, “Rodrick Rules” and figured I would enjoy this one as well but not quite so. It seems that the director and writers take you up the ladder, walk you to the edge of the diving board but don’t let you jump or even fall! The story based on the book with cute cartoon excerpts is certainly a cute family film but I just think that there’s so much going on in the story that it leaves the audience overwhelmed. It would have been much better if they stuck to the country club or the wilderness but throwing so much at us at one time left the audience a bit numb. I can honestly relate to his childhood since I too experienced most of the same but kids these days might not follow some of the moments but rather find them unfulfilling and non-climatic. Sometimes less is more and in this case a lot less and more focused would most likely have made this a more enjoyable and funny film.
I really can’t say anything bad about the acting since most if not all the actors worked their roles well. Gordon once again fulfills, Capron as the heavier best friend is funny but totally under-used in this version along with Laine MacNeil who plays Patty Farrell and not to forget Brar as Chirag and Russell as Fregley, all of them could have made the plot more involved if only written more into the story line. But of course the story revolves around Gordon and his family of which Zahn can do no wrong; I’ve always been a fan of his on the big screen. Harris goes a bit unnoticed unlike Bostick who plays a key role and performs it well, a bit strange but well! Overall the film is family friendly and adorable but just a bit frantic with so many unnecessary destinations for Greg to endure. After the first few minutes when the story gets your attention it starts to spiral out of control headed for the cliff. It dangles but at least doesn’t fall off. Written with two paws out of four, I’m Jon Patch.
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