I didn’t think it was possible but the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” film series has sunk to a new low with the latest installment – “Dog Days”.
Greg Heffley (once again played by Zachary Gordon) has just finished the 7th grade. He’s still hanging out with his best friend Rowley and dealing with his wacky parents and older and younger brothers. Summer’s here and Greg’s got a crush on a classmate named Holly. His father (Steve Zahn) wants Greg to stop playing video games all day and become more active and responsible. But all Greg wants to do is hang out with Holly. So he starts going to a Country Club that Rowley belongs to and where Holly teaches tennis. Soon he’s sneaking his older brother Rodrick into the club as well, because he happens to like Holly’s older sister. And the whole time Greg’s lying to his father, who thinks he has a job at the club.
Greg and his family get into more strange and awkward situations as the summer goes on, including father and son bonding as “Wilderness Explorers”. All of their adventures are embarrassing to watch. The family also gets a dog, one of the reasons why the film is called “Dog Days”. It’s also the title of one of the books in the series, but this movie combines parts of two Wimpy Kid books: The Last Straw and Dog Days and that strategy doesn’t work. There are unnecessary subplots thrown in but hardly developed, including the dog and Greg’s possible future at a military school.
“Dog Days” is incredibly painful to watch. All the attempted jokes and funny scenes fail badly. And, once again, the script relies on bathroom humor (literally – 2-minutes into the film), body parts humor and slapstick in an effort to create laughs. When a movie has to rely on the boys getting hit in the private parts with tennis balls and one of them losing his bathing suit in the swimming pool it’s obvious the writers have no imagination or idea of what’s funny. It is truly amazing how unamusing and unfunny the dialogue and situations are in this film.
The performances are equally atrocious. No need to single anyone out. This movie isn’t even up to the standards of a bad cable TV series. There is an “important message” about owning up to your mistakes. I wonder if those involved in making this film come forward and apologize to everyone who spend good money to see it.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” is rated PG for the rude humor. It’s appropriate for kids 8 and up but there’s no reason to make anyone watch this. On the plus side, at least there’s a lot less of the gross humor in this one and there is a little of the pencil drawings from the book – but even that’s getting a little old. As are the kids.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” gets a D-
There are still three books left in the series – with Greg still in middle school. If they’re going to make a final movie, they’ll probably have to combine the remaining three stories into one. As depressing as that sounds at least we’d know that the end was here.