Friday, August 3, 2012

This Dog Can’t Hunt, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”

The Wimpy Kid bunch is back for another go at milking the cash cow, er, I mean the bunch is back with another pre-tween/full-on tween “comedy.” David Bowers has got to be the laziest director on the planet. It’s not that this film is really bad. (Bad might be interesting.) It’s just so mediocre: the story, the acting, the shooting, the jokes—you name it. “Good enough” seems, well, good enough for Bowers.

Capron (left) and Gordon
In this installment, Greg is determined to spend his summer vacation playing video games but he’d also like to make a connection with cute girl Holly. I’d say his expectations for the summer are pretty low, which means he’s come to the right place. As a mom, I don’t like to be mean to kids, but actors Zachary Gordon (Greg) and Robert Capron (Rowley) deliver pretty weak performances in what could have been a great little buddy story. Wes Anderson showcased some wonderful kid performances in the recent Moonrise Kingdom. And child actor CJ Adams in the upcoming Peter Hedges film The Odd Life of Timothy Green delivers a noteworthy performance.

I suppose there’s nothing much wrong with this film; there just isn’t anything actively right with it, either. I suppose if you liked the earlier films, you may like this one. I mean, the book series has attracted a group of super-fans and I get it. The books are witty and charming. I don’t want to be a total curmudgeon. I’ve already published my preference for the Wimpy Kid book series over the film franchise in my piece I Liked You Better As a Stick Figure. There’s another advantage the book series has over a live-action film. On the page, Greg will never grow up and never grow old. A cartoon would enjoy the same advantage. (That Maggie Simpson is STILL a baby.) But actor Zachary Gordon seems to be growing up very quickly and I’m thinking a bit inconveniently for the franchise. They may have to call the next installment The Wimpy Kid Trims His Mustache.

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