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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

By
Adam Shaw
Source: Catholic News Service


Zachary Gordon and Steve Zahn star in a scene from the movie "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days."
School's out, and the local country club is the focus of fun in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" (Fox 2000). This second sequel in the comedy franchise that started with 2010's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is based, like its predecessors, on the "novels in cartoons" of Jeff Kinney.

Sourced from the third and fourth books in Kinney's series, Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky's screenplay provides a warm, kid-friendly outing that emphasizes the virtue of honesty and the importance of familial ties.

Zachary Gordon once again plays awkward preteen protagonist Greg Heffley. With summer just starting, Greg plans a housebound season of soda and video games. His dad, Frank (Steve Zahn), has different ideas, seeing the break from school as an opportunity for the two of them to bond through a long sequence of outdoor activities.

Greg initially evades this dread prospect by getting his loyal sidekick, Rowley (Robert Capron), to invite him to spend his days hanging out at the aforementioned club, where Rowley's parents are members. This ritzy destination is made doubly desirable by the fact that Greg's school crush, Holly (Peyton List), teaches tennis there.

When he and Rowley have a falling-out, however, Greg is left to rely on subterfuge to smuggle himself into the precincts of the one-percenters each day.

His deceitful scheme, needless to say, soon goes awry, thanks in part to his knuckleheaded older brother—and frequent nemesis—Rodrick (Devon Bostick). Rodrick exploits Greg's fibbing to worm his own way into the luxurious facility, with a gluttonous eye on smoothies and anything that involves bacon.

Increasingly ensnared by his own falsehoods, Greg scrambles to regain the affection of his true love and to rescue his friendship with Rowley as well as his relationship with his parents.

Greg's predicament allows director David Bowers to deliver a moving message amid the laughs, especially as father and son eventually reconcile to battle a common enemy—the outdoors.

Though it follows a predictable arc—and features such done-to-death gags as the diver who surfaces minus his swimsuit—"Dog Days" still makes for an enjoyable ride.

A touch of vaguely crass humor, such as the name of Rodrick's band, "Loded Diper," is also easily overlooked in favor of the generally amiable proceedings. So too is a locker-room scene in which a couple of portly men's towels ride down in the off-putting manner of the proverbial plumber.

Those in search of a screen adaptation that doesn't involve courtly vampires, Latin spells or children forced to fight to the death need look no further.

The film contains some mild scatological humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I— general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

*****
Adam Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service


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John Bosco: John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play. 
<p>Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism. </p><p>After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring. </p><p>By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers. </p><p>John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854 he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by St. Francis de Sales [January 24]. </p><p>With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.</p> American Catholic Blog How do you expect to reach your own perfection by leading someone else’s life? His sanctity will never be yours; you must have the humility to work out your own salvation in a darkness where you are absolutely alone.

 
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