..December 17, 2012
Usually when it comes to the third film in a comedy franchise, the ideas are not really that original anymore. Mostly they would be tackling things that worked in the first two episodes and giving them a twist or two to distinguish it from the others.
However in this third film in the Wimpy Kid series, this third film called "Dog Days" actually proved to be the best one of the series so far. Of all the films, this one had the most heart.
This film mixed in stories from the third (my personal favorite) and fourth books of the series. It focused on the summer vacation of our hero Greg Heffley. Like before, Greg gets into a number of misadventures as he "worked" at the country club to impress his dad, as well as to get closer to his pretty crush Holly Hills. This was the most we have seen from Steve Zahn as Mr. Heffley in the series so far, and he actually delivers the goods as the bumbling but kind-hearted father.
It also tells about a disastrous vacation with Rowley and his folks at the boardwalk, a disastrous camping trip with the Wilderness Explorers, as well as disastrous Sweet Sixteen party for Holly's snooty sister Heather, whom Greg's brother Rodrick has the hots for. These and the Heffley's acquisition of a new dog Sweetie, make this a most hilarious episode, yet still able to impart a number of moral lessons for the kids when it comes to relationships with their friends and with their fathers (which especially hit home for me).
Overall, I would recommend this as a very good family film for kids. Nothing here is particularly mean-spirited (unlike Book 2). Valuable lessons on responsibility were learned by the young characters as a result of the mischief they perpetrate. Those who like a good father-son story would enjoy this film. Yes, this might be shallow juvenile comedy on the surface. However, the moral values it imparts can run deep, yet all delivered in a truly entertaining, delightful, and unpatronizing package.