It’s not easy being a pre-teen, it seems, but it can be funny as long as you’re not enduring the agonies yourself.
The full awkwardness of the kid/teen frontier is the source material for Jeff Kinney’s best-selling series of tweenage novels on which this film is based.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books have been read and loved by my two boys and the films – this is the third – have been likeable enough comedies.
The ‘wimpy kid’ in question is Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) – a young chap with summer vacation plans, chiefly involving playing video games every day and getting the lovely Holly Hills (Peyton List) to be his girlfriend.
But his dad Frank (Steve Zahn), has other ideas that include a possible work placement, outdoor sports and a camping trip with a oddball boy scout troop.
Greg’s summer seems to be saved when his best friend Rowley Jefferson (Robert Capron) takes him to his country club where he can swim, relax, enjoy the facilities and dodge the work placement.
An added bonus is that Holly is a junior tennis coach at the club so he may just have chance to impress her and find young love.
Of course things do not go smoothly and various mishaps befall Greg. Accidentally skinny dipping in the pool when his trunks snag on a diving board? You bet.
He also doesn’t realise that the waiter service smoothies actually run up a hefty bill on his friend’s family’s tab.
There are some really funny moments, and the pick of the bunch are when Greg’s inadvertent 911 call sees his best pal’s dad getting assaulted by police officers, and his older brother’s disastrous gig at the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ party hosted by Holly’s older sister.
The young cast are good value, Gordon has made the lead role his own and the returning characters from the other two films all add some nice touches – this is one series of films that has maintained a good standard thanks to having an established series of books to follow rather than needing to add spurious and unlikely cash-in sequels.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is a fun summer holiday all age crowd pleaser.
It will make you laugh out loud and also offer a modicum of insight into the struggles of growing up.
Makes a nice change to see a film that doesn’t have to gross out the audience in the name of comedy. Recommended.