This is the third film adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s cartoon novels, so at this stage everyone on both sides of the set should know the drill. It’s just a pity this didn’t come out a bit earlier during this miserable summer as it could’ve made a fortune here in Ireland as parents sought to keep bored kids out of the rain and amused at the same time, without endless recourse to the proverbial PlayStation.
Like many a pre-teen American movie before (and probably forever), Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Days revolves around the struggles of a kid trying to cope at home, in school, and with the opposite sex, without feeling like a complete idiot.
Zachary Gordon is back for the third year in a row (well, he will be shaving soon) as Greg Heffley, and as school’s out for summer his attention turns elsewhere as he looks forward to spending the entire holidays behind closed curtains, sitting on the front room floor, gorging on savouries and turning into a video games’ expert.
Of course life – or Dad (Steve Zahn) – has other plans.
Then there’s Greg’s crush: Holly Hills (played by Peyton List – where do they get these names?), a fellow mid-school pupil who, as Greg discovers, spends summer teaching tennis at the local country club.
Add in Greg’s rock god/slacker big brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick, who fans of obscure TV may remember from Canadian angst-fest Being Erica), enemy adults, lost swimming trunks, parent-deceiving lies that backfire, and a camping trip that turns into a nightmare, and you’ve all the ingredients for a bog-standard but still amusing pre-teen comedy.
What Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Days lacks in originality is more than made up for with sheer enthusiasm and it hardly puts a foot wrong on a well-trodden path. Families should lap it up.