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When it comes to kids movies, if the viewer is a responsible adult, they should always consider how they would have felt when watching it back when he/she was a child. That was the position that I put myself in when watching David Bowers’ “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” and because of that (unlike many others I saw the film with), I found a bit of enjoyment in this story of a confused, post-puberty young teenager searching for joy during the rather dull dog days of summer.
If there’s one key concept of childhood that I’ll forever remember, it’s the fact that I was completely sure that I was smarter than my parents – and this is where Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) is at in his life as a soon to be 8th grader. He has nothing to do but sit on his behind and play Xbox all day (you never see him physically write in a diary), and he doesn’t get along with his mom or dad because they’re more interested in the upbringing of his 5 year-old brother. To add on to that, he’s also unsure of his group of friends and has a crush a pretty classmate named Holly (Peyton List).
In order to see Holly more often after failing to obtain her complete phone number during yearbook signing on the last day of school, Greg befriends Rowley Jefferson because he attends the same country club as Holly does. The only problem is, everything that could ever go wrong in Greg’s life does go wrong as he inches closer and closer to trying to initiate a little more than a casual friendship with Holly.
These are all real-life problems that a kid this age would face – problems that I’ve faced, problems that you’ve faced, problems that most normal kids who mature at an average rate have faced from time to time. Would I watch this film again? Most likely I wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t find joy within the simplistic, often cliché children’s plot – even with the all-too-audacious Justin Bieber-enhanced climax.
Coming to save us from the near atrocious moments of this film is Steve Zahn (from “Joy Ride” of 2001), who provides a much-needed spark to some of the dullish acting of the star teenagers. As Greg’s father Frank Heffley, he’s a morally driven middle class man who just wants the best for his son but doesn’t quite know how to get it for him.
However, he doesn’t often get across his message so clearly. That brings us to one of the adult-oriented features of this film which I’ve yet to mention: the fact that every damn adult in the entire movie has no idea whatsoever of what goes into being a good parent. Some are overprotective, others are too worrisome, some are completely nonexistent, and a few are slaves to their children – but none of them are genuinely good at what they do.
For that, parents are probably going to hate watching “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Of Summer,” while their kids sit there next to them and plan their next rambunctious activities to make their lives all the more fun during their last few dog days of this August.
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