Susan Granger’s review of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” (20th Century-Fox)
Set during summer vacation, “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), the celebrated hero of the popular children’s book series, is looking forward to hanging out with his friends. But then he realizes that his parents’ (Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn) plans for family togetherness in the great outdoors don’t include watching his beloved video-games or reading comics.
So Greg joins his best friend Rowley Jefferson (Robert Capon), slurping fruit smoothies at Rowley’s fancy country club, but that doesn’t quite work out the way he’d planned. Then the beach trip that he was looking forward to is cancelled because the Haffleys don’t have enough money – which leaves Greg enduring embarrassing calamities at the town’s public pool. A camping trip with Rowley’s parents goes horribly wrong and their “V.I.P. lawn care service” is a bust. Plus, Greg must endure manipulative Roderick (Devon Bostick), his obnoxious older brother who is obsessed with his heavy metal band called Loded Diper.
Scripted by Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky and directed by David Bowers, it’s based upon author/cartoonist Jeff Kinney’s third and fourth books, combining episodic storylines because actor Zachary Gordon is growing up; now a teenager, his voice is changing.
In case you’re curious, the term “dog days” is related to Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens, which the ancient Egyptians called the Dog Star in honor of their god Osiris, whose head resembled that of a dog. For about 20 days, beginning in late July, Sirius rises and sets with the sun, so Egyptians and Romans concluded that the presence of Sirius, added to the heat of the sun, created a stretch of hot, sultry weather – hence the “dog days of summer.” However, scientists have since proven that the excessive heat is not due to the added radiation from this far-away star; instead, it’s a direct result of the earth’s tilt.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” is a family-friendly 5, as Greg’s angst takes a more adolescent turn.