DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS: 3 STARS
The “Diary of the Wimpy Kid” series are tailor made for kids who have aged out of SpongeBob but aren’t quite old enough for the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
The third in the series is set during summer vacation, a three month break for wimpy kid Greg (Zachary Gordon) who plans on staying indoors and playing video games the whole time. Unfortunately his father (Steve Zahn) has different ideas. To avoid taking an unpaid internship at his dad’s office Greg lies about having a job at a local country club. In reality his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) is a member, but more importantly so is Holly Hills (Peyton List), a cute girl from his home room class.
“Dog Days” is essentially “Leave it to Beaver” with video games and cell phones. The underlying messages are the same and so are many of the jokes. That’s not an entirely bad thing.
The jokes might be a tad stale, but the messages about honesty, friendship and doing the right thing are effective and delivered with a spoon full of sugar. The lessons spring organically from the situations, and while the movie is too episodic to be considered a real narrative–it often feels like cartoon strips pasted together–it’s meant for the shorter attention spans of its twelve year old audience.
“Diary of the Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” will likely appeal to preteens and some parents who grew up watching “Leave it to Beaver” reruns.