Published Aug 02, 2012Much like the first two Diary of a Wimpy Kid films, this latest adaptation of the substantially more perceptive and witty Jeff Kinney comic books of the same name is merely throwaway pandering to base human instincts and frustratingly implausible situations.
It's affable enough, with its colour-saturated aesthetic and anarchic, whimsical sensibilities, anchored by an appealing supporting cast, but still, the titular "wimpy kid," Greg (Zachary Gordon), isn't particularly likable, just as the movie isn't particularly funny.
This time out, Greg isn't adapting to middle school or bonding with his irreverent, socially irresponsible older brother, Rodrick (Devon Bostick), rather, he's made up an elaborate lie to avoid spending the summer with his well-intentioned, albeit goofy, father (Steve Zahn). He pretends to work at the local country club where he can hang out with best friend Rowley (Robert Capron), whose parents are members, and hit on dim teen Holly (Peyton List).
As the title suggests, the family gets a dog, but how this pertains to the film or the borderline incomprehensible theme remains a mystery long after the credits roll.
Because these shenanigans unfold with the standard Nickelodeon sensibility, wherein the lack of audience attention span is accounted for with constant gags and abrasive cinematography, this story of ersatz parental bonding is ultimately watchable. Much like the first two films, the body language and sly, culturally acerbic references keep the blasé story on its toes.
It's just that Greg is so imbued with grotesque values and strained scenarios that it's difficult to care about his character arc. And even when these revelations come about, the emotional depth barely registers as human, leaving us to wonder mainly why Greg isn't punished more so for the chaos he routinely causes in an effort to fulfill his id instincts.
Still, if the first two films appealed to any given viewer, it's likely they'll be just as satisfied with this entry, since, if anything, it's slightly more cohesive than Rodrick Rules. (Fox)