"It was good, but the books are better than the movie."
And so my tween learns a lesson that rings true more often than not, and I hate to tell that this is true of not only tween books/movies, but all books/movies.
Our family of three went on opening day to see "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," the movie based on the third and fourth of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. We've read the books as a family (we still do evening reading together) and selections by Kinney makes us all laugh, although sometimes at different parts because Kinney's humor targets multiple levels. This is the third film in the Diary series.
"Dog Days" opens at the end of seventh grade, and our hero, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), is angling to spend the summer inside playing video games, while his dad (Steve Zahn) tries to force him to be outdoors and active. Trying to avoid his parents and their plans for his summer, Greg spends time with his friend Rowley (Robert Capron) at the country club where he gets to interact with pretty girl from school, Holly (Peyton List).
The timing of the release of this film is pretty brilliant. It seemed appropriate as we enter the actual dog days of the summer, when it was sweltering outside the air conditioning of the theater felt good, and that while my tween will not admit to being ready to return to school which starts soon, a bit of summer malaise has set in, especially this week. We were also thinking it'd be a good last summer flick prior to the academic year beginning in 12 days.
Here's our full family review of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" movie:
Tween: This movie was good! I'm glad I got to see it. I really liked Holly, and I like actress who plays her, Peyton List. She's on the Disney Channel. Greg seemed a lot like me sometimes, especially in not being an outdoor kid, but sometimes he was very different. It was good, but the movie was really different from the book. They changed some major parts in the movie, and left out other really good parts of the book entirely. I don't know why one character was good in the book but bad in the movie. I'm also sad that they left out Greg's birthday. I liked the parts where they had some cartoons, and they're more like the best parts of the book.
Tween Bonus Dad: It was pretty good. There were funny parts. I thought Steve Zahn's portrayal of Greg's Dad was good. I like him in general, and he was good here. The moments of understanding between the parent and tween were nice, and I appreciated the portrayal of their relationship. Overall, the hour and a half went quickly and I'm not sorry that I saw it.
Tween Mom: The movie was predictable, and with more potty humor than I would like. I wasn't crazy about some of the misbehavior of the kids or their calculating nature, but the message of admitting and earning from your mistakes is valuable. I agree with Tween Bonus Dad that Steve Zahn's portrayal of the dad was a good performance, and his moments were some of the highlights. While I like the fact that my daughter enjoys these books and movies about a boy and that they have nothing to do with fashion or ballerinas (an occasional break is nice), the potty humor in the film was a bit much for me. I was relieved that there was no "cheese touch" as in the first movie, but I should be careful what I wish for. The scenes at the start of the movie with the toddler playing in the urinal did not make me happy, although that did greatly amuse the tween boys and quite a few dads in the audience. I'm pretty sure that no moms were laughing at that one. I also admit to feeling a bit defensive of Greg's mom (Rachael Harris) and her efforts to start a summer book club, even if she was misguided in thinking that the boys would want to "see what's going on with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy" in Little Women. Although I cringed at parts, I laughed at others. But I have to agree with me tween, the books are far better.
Have you seen the movie? What did you and your kids think? Give us your review!