If you have children between the ages of 8 and 13, it’s a pretty good bet that they’ve gotten hooked on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series. The best-sellers appeal to tweens not only because they’re easy to read – they include fun illustrations by author Jeff Kinney – but also because everyone can relate to the woes of protagonist Greg Heffley. He’s an average kid who’s trying to make it through middle school without too much embarrassment, which isn’t easy when his family and friends complicate matters.
The movie adaptations have captured the humor and awkwardness of the books, and the newest one, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, is no exception. Here, Greg (beautifully played by Zachary Gordon) is trying to salvage a summer that seems doomed from the start. He’d rather spend his days playing video games and getting to know his secret crush, Holly Hills (Peyton List). Alas, his parents have other plans – like getting him a job and making him go on bonding experiences with Dad.
The film sometimes wanders too far into wacky sitcom territory – like Greg’s finagling a phony job at the local country club and plotting an elaborate revenge on a rival scouting pack. And tormentor/big brother Rodrick (the hilarious Devon Bostick) is underused in this sequel. But where Dog Days shines is when it goes for honest moments, particularly the relationships between Greg, his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) and his dad (Steve Zahn), with whom Greg has more in common than he thinks.
What do the real critics think? My 9-year-old son calls this “the best Wimpy Kid movie yet.” And my 6-year-old daughter laughed all the way through – especially the scene where Greg has a humiliating encounter with a high-dive board.
Escape the dog days outside and give your kids a Wimpy treat this weekend!
[Photo: courtesy 20th Century Fox]
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