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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days


Stars: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn, Holly Hills, Connor Fielding/Owen Fielding, Grayson Russell, Karan Brar, Melissa Roxburgh

Director: David Bowers

The sequel strikes again and hits its target – youngsters – pretty accurately with the third in the series of cheerfully juvenile comedies based on Jeff Kinney’s popular books.

Term ends for seventh grader Gordon who, dismissing the advice that “Summer time is for real games”, cannot wait to spend the vacation staying indoors and playing video games 24/7. Unfortunately for him his father Zahn has other ideas and, dismembering the family television set, forces the highly reluctant Gordon to leave the house. He ends up lying to his parents by claiming to be working at the posh country club where he hangs out with best friend Capron, sets out to win the love of pretty fellow pupil List, and runs up a huge bill for smoothies which Zahn has to settle. The summer shenanigans also feature a disaster-ridden camping expedition with the scouts and Gordon’s older brother Bostick and his uber loud heavy metal band causing escalating chaos at a rich girl’s sixteenth birthday party…

Subtlety is essentially absent from Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky’s gag-ridden screenplay – when Gordon catches his younger brother dabbling in a urinal, his sibling informs him “I’m washing my hands” and the lad is later involved in a peeing-in-the-swimming-pool joke. That said, the silly slapstick, juvenile jokes and, especially, the adult-baiting humour that erupt during Gordon’s adventures, clearly appeal to the young ‘Wimpy Kid’ audiences.

Don’t take my word for it.

“There were so many things that made me laugh”, says Lara (8), “It was so funny”, agrees Jake (5) and, said Ben (39) “I loved it”.

Performances are in line with the material, with Zahn giving his all, and then some, and the youngsters fitting in neatly with their roles while Bowers’ direction is suitably slick and well paced and showcases the batty blend of likeable kids and amiable adults.

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 03 Aug 2012