Alexander's day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. However, he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother and sister - who all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Summer vacation started, and Greg has his own way to enjoy it with video games. However, his father wants him to go outside and stop playing video games, and his mother has her own plans, including a reading club. In addition, Greg can't get along with his father. The only thing they have in common is the hatred for the Lil Cutie Comics. Things only get worse after the stay at the beachside cabin goes totally wrong. Will anything go right? At least there's Holly Hills.Written by
The kind of film you need to steer your child away from
At the end of my review for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, the predecessor to this film, I optimistically stated, "Rodrick Rules is a tiny bit more mature than it's predecessor, but in the long run it's just not at all funny." The makers of Dog Days clearly listened to the second part of that sentence and overlooked the first. This is yet another installment of a series that is still grounded, despite its impression that it has taken off three films ago.
I feel the need to reiterate this fact; I am a faithful fan to the book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I have been since it made its debut on the FunBrain website, where you had to scroll through a formal calendar and see what the main character Greg Heffley experienced day-by-day. Then came the novel, with its notebook-paper designed pages, the adolescent handwriting style, and the simplistic doodles at the bottom of each page vividly illustrating the above passage of text. They were keenly written treasures. The films are deplorable.
This one merges two of the series' novels, which were the third book, The Last Straw, and its follow-up, Dog Days, and that is perfectly fine with me. The less of these I have to sit through the better. Our film begins with Greg Heffley (again, reprised by Zachary Gordon) and his family attending a water-park just a day before the last day of school. Greg is held responsible for his youngest brother, Manny, who we see wash his hands with a urinal cake within the first few minutes of the film. We then see a crowded pool of people, some eating pizza and dropping it in the water, and when Manny later invites Greg to play with him in a smaller pool, he informs him that he is peeing in the water as they speak, as well as the other young children. You can see where this is directly headed.
The remainder of the film follows the simple plot of Greg, again, mooching of his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) into being his guest at a country club. Because his father (Steve Zahn) wants him to lay off the video games, Greg impulsively lies to his parents and says he is currently working there. His older brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick) quickly sees through his lie, and Greg informs that the there are many perks to this country club, including his crush, Holly (Peyton List), who frequents the venue working as a tennis instructor for the young. Rodrick has a crush on Holly's sixteen year old sister (who looks about twenty or twenty-one, but don't they all), so as long as Greg agrees to sneak him in whenever he wants, he won't say anything.
One of the film's many subplots is that on the last day of school, Holly is eagerly signing everyone's yearbook and Greg wants her to sign her phone number in his. He politely asks her, she does so, but is distracted by a swarm of students fleeing school after the final bell and does not write down the final two digits of her number. This is a big problem in the beginning of the film, clearly brewing anger with our main character, but the dozens of attempts he will later get at the country club, he doesn't even ask or pretend to care when she states, "you got my number." Most illogical. And when he does, he is conveniently interrupted by someone else, mainly her older sister.
This film also furthers the use of gross out gags and idiocy to the point of maddening disgust. Scenes involving boogers (which are down there with the worst possible kind), involving a dog slobbering all over a pot roast and the family later consuming it, and a scene where Greg's swim trunks, in a series of implausible events, get stuck on the diving board as he helplessly stays like a wounded soldier in the pool, swimming away from any and everyone take the stage in what the film hopes will generate laughs.
Another thing Dog Days can't help but continue to do is further our already looming dislike for Greg and his overly snotty personality. The character in the novels was no model child, but he seemed far more sympathetic and likable than what the movies make him out to be; a stuck up, lying, insubordinate rat. Here's a character who disregards almost everything his parents say, lies to them nonetheless, hopelessly uses his best friend who is too dense to notice it, and continues to make the people around him feel inferior so he can one day, as we heard in the original film, "be the king of the world." But these characteristics will still not overshadow the corny, trite ending we will inevitably be provided with, with a message so deep and profound that you will begin to recall how many films it has already been told in. And don't get me started on the incredibly phoned-in, last minute idea of parent/child disconnect. This film is unworthy of touching on such a subject.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is labored and, much like its main character, unbearable to tolerate or enjoy, despite its short runtime. It is populated by jokes that do nothing but lower young kids' attention spans to dwindling proportions, so they can later grow up to feed on "the next big thing" and, instead of challenging themselves intellectually, continue to stay sheltered inside their comfort zone of familiarity. Much like its predecessors, the film does nothing but continue to lampoon a book franchise's well-deserved reputation into a black sea of shame. But unlike its predecessors, I can at least complement it for undermining the unnecessary and disturbing character of Fregly.
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Rachel Harris, Steve Zahn, Peyton List, and Karan Brar. Directed by: David Bowers.
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