|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days|
Recently, I watched the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. In the movie, accident- and mistake-prone Greg Heffley is back, along with his friends and family, to give us an idea of what summer vacation is NOT supposed to look like!
For Greg, if it can go wrong, it will... The story begins with Greg finishing up the school year and looking forward to a summer of video games, junk food and general vegetating. But, because Greg's parents don't want his brain cells evaporating (and Greg's mom challenges his dad to ratchet up his fathering skills), his parental units come up with some other grand summer vacation ideas...like the Wilderness Explorers camping trip, a book club, a Civil War re-enactment, a fishing expedition, and a memorable experience at the community pool. While that might sound like fun to some of you, none of these activities appeal to Greg, and he finds a way out of his misery: tell his parents he has a job at Rowley's country club so he can hang out at the pool, drink smoothies and "accidentally" bump into the love of his life, Holly. His plan to lie his way through the summer starts off well, but gradually spirals into a tangled web of lies that even Greg can't manage.
Some of you may remember that I reviewed the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie a while back, and took issue with several elements in the film. While this film contains some of the same elements (potty humor, lying, etc.), this movie seems to be a toned-down version of the first one.
Here are some of the negative aspects:
1. Greg is a liar...and so is his father. Nothing makes me more nervous than watching a movie character tell lie after lie and dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole of deception. The consequences for lying always follow, whether you're caught...or not. First, lying makes you paranoid and nervous. You are always wondering if someone is going to find you out, and you have to remember the the lies you've told. Secondly, if you are caught, it destroys the trust other people have for you, and makes them suspicious of anything else you say - even if the other things you say are true. When I was a kid, I always told the truth, even when I knew I'd be in trouble. My parents knew that, so even when I had some pretty off-the-wall stories (like the time I accidentally took the wrong bus into town and disappeared for two hours), my parents always believed me because I didn't let them down. It was a really nice feeling to have people believe you and trust you. I wouldn't trade that for any lie of convenience.
2. This movie has gross stuff in it. From nose-picking, to urinal splashing, to old hairy men's plumber cracks, to urine-tainted kiddie pools... it's definitely toe-curling. Is it funny? Sure it is. But you have to decide what level of potty humor you are willing to tolerate for a laugh.
Here are some of the positive aspects:
1. Greg's parents are really trying to be good parents, even though they mess up and make clueless mistakes. And in the end, even after the lies and disappointments, they find a way to improve their relationship with this kids and keep the lines of communication open.
2. There's a moral to the story... Greg and his parents all learn from the mistakes they make. The negative elements aren't ultimately glorified. The characters seem to have let their experiences change their outlook for future decisions. That's a good thing. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn. Just like every sinful act is an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and grow closer to God.
Bottom line, there are some good lessons to be learned from Dog Days. But you've got to wade through some potty humor to get to those lessons. So there you have it! What do you think? Is this a movie you would watch?