Family Man movie review of 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days'

By Shawn O'Neill

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 3 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

When you’re still in school, making the most of your summer means getting into the right frame of mind and staying one step ahead of your parents. Well, at least that is what Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) thinks in the new film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.”

Greg is trying to do nothing but play video games all summer long. But he also wants to get to know Holly Hills (Peyton List) a lot better. She signs his yearbook at the end of school and Greg suggests she include her phone number. She gets distracted and leaves off the last two digits.

Another thing Greg must do is evade his father who doesn’t want him to play video games all day long. Dad is hoping one of his kids can accomplish something this summer. Greg’s dad, Frank (Steve Zahn), unplugs the TV when he realizes it is running his kids’ lives.

Luckily, Greg still has his friend Rowley (Robert Capron) to help him out. Rowley invites Greg to the country club and he is hooked. To explain his absence every day, Greg tells his parents he works at the country club even though he is going there to get closer to Holly — she’s a member there.

Greg has it pretty good until his brother finds out he really doesn’t work at the country club and forces Greg to sneak him in. Then they find a brochure for an all-boys boarding school in the mail and hope their parents are not serious about sending them there.

One great message the film implies is that it is all right to make a mistake. At the same time, it talks about owning your mistakes, taking responsibility for actions no matter the consequences.

Not a very common lesson taught in movies.

Parents, you will laugh right along with your kids when you see this film. There is some slapstick comedy that really works well. Also included are some father and son moments that are kind of touching.

“Dog Days” has a PG rating due to some moments of bullying and violence. A girl keeps hitting Greg with the ball while they play tennis. One character does lose his shorts as he dives into the water, but nothing is shown.

This installment of the “Wimpy Kid” series is one that the whole family should see. Kids will enjoy the antics on the screen a little more than the adults will, but it is still fun. The film highlights that families are a wonderful thing to have — even if they are quirky.

Shawn O'Neill is the Family Man Movie Reviewer on BYU Radio. His reviews can be heard on BYURadio.org and on SiriusXM Channel 143.

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