Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
If you don't know Greg Heffley, his brothers Rodrick and Manny, and his pals Rowley, Fregley, Chirag and Patty by now, then where have you been? Diary of a Wimpy Kid has become one of the most popular young adult series of all time, and this third film in the series is perhaps the most enjoyable thus far.
It is Summer vacation and all Greg (Zachary Gordon) wants to do is play video games. His dad Frank (Steve Zahn) sees other neighborhood kids enjoying the outdoors and wishes his son would do the same. To appease his father, Greg pretends to get a job at a ritzy country club in town, when in actuality he is only showing up their each day to hang out at the pool with his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron).
Of course, Greg has other motives than just making his dad proud. His crush Holly Hills (Peyton List) is spending her Summer at the country club as well, as is her snotty big sis, Heather (Melissa Roxburgh). Heather's presence forces Greg's big brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick) into the picture, who forces Greg to sneak him into the club so that he can try to land a date with the blonde bombshell. Hilarity ensues.
Much of this Dog Days installment consists of one familiar scene after another, but the characters are so likeable and relatable that you won't mind at all. It works almost as a sitcom, or an episode of Looney Tunes starring teenagers. Greg faces a situation or a challenge, the situation/challenge goes unexpectedly, and Greg is made to feel uncomfortable, providing us with some laughs along the way. Repeat.
Some of these situations border on silly, but many of them are laugh-out-loud funny. Greg attempts to dive off the high dive to impress Holly, but loses his shorts in the process. Greg and Rowley confess to each other their deepest secret before plunging on a roller coaster ride that will surely end their lives. Rowley confesses that he didn't wash his hands one time. Greg confesses that he once used Rowley's toothbrush to get dog poop out of his shoe.
Greg has changed a great deal from the first film, where he was so self-centered it was nearly hard to root for the kid. Here he has grown up a bit, and continues to grow. This series has a great knack for capturing this sort of thing, and it continues to teach life lessons while it also keeps the laughs coming at a steady pace.
Steve Zahn gets a much bigger role in this film than he's had in previous films, and his father/son relationship with Greg takes center stage. There are a lot of great family moments that children and adults will be able to relate to.
That is ultimately the beauty of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series thus far - they are the rare films that can be thoroughly enjoyed by young children, teenagers and adults alike.
Genre: Family, Comedy
Run Time: 1 hour 34 minutes, Rated PG
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Peyton List, Melissa Roxburgh
Directed by David Bowers (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Astro Boy, Flushed Away)
Opens locally on Friday, August 3rd, 2012
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