Story

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is based on the popular graphic novel. In this new movie, Greg (Zachary Gordon) is learning to navigate the dramas of middle school with his best friend, Rowley (Robert Capron). With school out for the summer, Greg tries to occupy himself with a series of misguided adventures. He wants to gain the favour of the beautiful Holly (Peyton List), while convincing his father, Frank (Steve Zahn), that he’s completely responsible.

Themes

Father and son relationships

Violence

This movie has limited violence and some accidental harm. For example:

  • Rodrick, Greg’s teenage brother, throws eggs at a house. The man who opens the door gets hit by several of the eggs.
  • Greg and his father go to a civil war re-enactment. Men start firing guns, and Greg runs away in fear, although the weapons aren’t real.
  • Greg and Rowley play tennis with two girls. The boys keep getting hit with tennis balls. Rowley gets hit in the crotch, and Greg gets hit in the face.
  • Greg calls 911 in a misguided attempt to escape Rowley’s family holiday. When Rowley’s dad answers the door holding a bread knife he has been using, he is tackled to the floor by two policemen.
  • While on camp, Greg accidentally hits his father’s hand with a mallet.
  • At the birthday party of Holly’s sister, Rodrick performs a bad musical act. Holly’s sister yells, ‘I’m going to kill you’, before swinging a microphone stand at Rodrick.

Content that might disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example, people are sitting around the campfire telling stories during the Wilderness Camp. One of the adults comes out dressed in a dark robe, looking like a ghost. All the children jump in fright. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could disturb children in this age group. For example, at the beginning of the movie, Greg doesn’t have a good relationship with his father. While Greg is listening in the background, his father tells his mother that he and Greg have nothing in common. He says that spending time with his son ‘isn’t fun for either one of us’. Greg is visibly hurt. 

From 8-13

None of concern 

Over 13

None of concern 

Sexual references

This movie has some mild sexual references. For example, Rodrick tries to get the attention of a female lifeguard by pretending to drown. An older man pulls him out of the pool instead and starts giving him CPR. Rodrick is crying and distressed afterwards. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some partial and implied nudity. For example:

  • The beginning of the movie has a scene in a male shower room. It shows several old men naked from the waist up, with some glimpses of the men’s bottoms from behind.
  • When Greg jumps into the pool from the high platform, his shorts accidentally get caught and he falls into the pool naked. This isn’t shown. He stays there until the very end of the day, because he’s worried about people seeing him without any clothes. 

Product placement

An Apple laptop is shown in this movie. 

Coarse language

This movie has some mild coarse language and crude humour. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is the latest movie based on the popular book series. It’s aimed at upper primary and young teenage children, who are likely to enjoy it.

It’s a story about growing up and learning about the consequences of your actions. At the beginning of the summer, Greg just wants to stay inside and play video games. But he learns that there is more to life – that relationships are crucial, and that you should strive for the things that you want.

Values in this movie that you might want to reinforce with your children include:

  • being honest and not lying to friends and family
  • understanding that everyone makes mistakes – it’s how you deal with them that really matters
  • forgiving the people you love
  • taking chances and taking the initiative in going after the things you want in life.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the:

  • consequences of lying to other people, especially the people you care about
  • importance of admitting to wrongdoing and mistakes, no matter how hard this is. 

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