I have not felt the same love for this Wimpy Kid character that everyone else seems to enjoy.
I think he’s self-centered, manipulative, lazy and a liar — so what’s not to love?
In this latest adventure, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” Greg (Zachary Gordon) tries to weasel out of doing anything constructive with his summer; he hopes to spend each and every day playing video games.
He leeches off his sweet and innocent pal, Rowley (Robert Capron), to get invited to Rowley’s family’s country club for a day of leisure by the pool, ordering whatever food and beverage he likes. There, he spots the love of his life, Holly (Peyton List), teaching tennis to younger kids.
Greg lies to his dad, Frank (played moronically by Steve Zahn), about landing a summer job at the club to get out of having to do an internship at dad’s dull business office.
This gives Greg an excuse to hang out with Holly, while Rowley gets kicked to the curb. Yeah, some friend — again.
Eventually, Greg’s even more manipulative older brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), gets wind of the caper and wants into the club because Holly has an older sister, Heather (Melissa Roxburgh), whom he’d like to date.
Heather is the pretty, popular girl who is as cranky as a badger in a blender. She’s all worked up about her upcoming 16th birthday party. It has to be perfect, and the social event of the summer. What a brat.
Eventually, Rowley gets so tired of Greg and Rodrick’s mooching that he lies to his best friend to keep him from coming to the club. So Greg makes up names to continue to be let into the exclusive place and continues to run up the Rowley family tab at the club.
Fortunately, these shenanigans do have consequences, but not like you’d think. If I had pulled these stunts when I was a kid, I would have certainly gotten a lot more than: “I’m just so disappointed in you.” Brother.
Oh, and there’s something wrong with that youngest kid, Manny (played by twins Connor and Owen Fielding). I can see a kid peeing in the community petri dish pool, but washing his hands in the urinal using the scented cakes placed within? Disgusting. (OK, maybe I could see that happening. Still disgusting.)
Every gag and joke is so over-the-top that it feels like the filmmakers are aiming at 5-year-olds rather than early teens. The parents are portrayed as idiots, and the kids get away with everything until that finger-wagging moment of disappointment. Seriously?
“ I guess I’ve learned my lesson, dad.”
“We sure are closer now, son.”
And yet herein lies the good news for lovers of all thing “Wimpy.” This third film is a lot like the other two — so rejoice.
Just don’t be surprised when your little darlings turn out to be just like them.