Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
More Wimpy Kid fun mixed with worthy messages, potty humor.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 81 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Alongside the many examples of misguided teen behavior, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days has several positive messages about family, friendship, and even early romantic relationships. Greg tends to tell lies big and small to try to get his way, but Rowley and Holly help him realize that it's more important to be true to yourself than to tell lies to try and impress people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Holly and Rowley are great kid role models. While Holly is pretty enough to be a "mean girl," she's not. She's kind to everyone and abhors her older sister's diva-ish behavior. Rowley is never afraid to be exactly who he is -- a sweet, obedient boy who loves his parents and shows it. Despite his initial lies, Greg learns from his mistakes and apologizes to his father and Rowley. Greg and his father grow closer by being honest about their interests.


Some humorous slapstick: During a doubles tennis match, Greg and Rowley are hit in various places with an aggressively served tennis ball. They double over in pain as they're hit in the stomach and the groin. Greg has a bag full of ants crawl on him during a camping trip. During a scary campfire story, a counselor jumps out of the darkness and scares the kids.


Greg has a crush on Holly and stares at and tries to flirt with her. They end up holding hands. Rodrick fancies Holly's older sister, Heather. While it's not sexual, there's an extended scene in a men's locker room in which Greg sees many half-dressed men taking a shower (no nudity, but their big, hairy chests and stomachs are on display). Greg is shown sitting on the toilet (no nudity).


Like the books and the previous movies, language is mostly insults like "idiot," "loser," "shut up," "midgets," "jerk," and "freak." There's also a good bit of potty and scatological humor. References to farts, boogers, and dog spit are common.


Apple's MacBook Pro is displayed and used in a few scenes. Video game consoles and the Sony PSP are shown (and played). A couple of cars, like the Volvo station wagon and a Jeep, are driven by parents. Greg eats a snack of Coke and Utz potato chips.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is the third adaptation in the series of movies based on Jeff Kinney's phenomenally popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Like its two predecessors, it's full of the kind of physical and scatological comedy that tweens love. Language includes standard insults like "loser" and "jerk," and the violence is of the humorous ball-in-the-groin variety, with one potential jump scene when an adult scares kids during a campout. Parents wary of bathroom humor should know there are many jokes about pee, farts, boogers, dog spit, etc. There's a brief glimpse at a boy sitting on the toilet and an extended men's locker room sequence in which a lead character tries to avoid looking at all the fat, hairy, and shirtless men toweling off or taking showers. Overall, the movie (like the book) has a sweet message about father-son bonding and being honest.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byJoewilson March 13, 2014

Not something children should be watching

I think it's about time we take a stand against violance. Girls slam tennis balls at boys and at one point a boy is hit in the groin. I know some of you w... Continue reading
Parent of a 10, 12, and 15-year-old Written byHendo H. U December 25, 2017


The best movie in the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid trilogy. Why don’t people like it that much?
Teen, 13 years old Written byJesussaves1907 June 29, 2020

ok moive

its an ok moive, definitely better than the first one but not the best, Greg is not the best role model he lies and is always doing stuff hes not supposed to be... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysuperkid1 March 26, 2018

What a Funny Movie!!

This movie is so hilarious!! I have never read any of the books and I have never seen the first two films but this one was super funny! The classic funny parts... Continue reading

What's the story?

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS, the third installment in the Wimpy Kid series, focuses on protagonist Greg Heffley's (Zachary Gordon) summer after seventh grade. All Greg wants to do is sit around playing video games, hanging out with his best friend, Rowley (Robert Capron), and trying to get together with his crush, Holly (Peyton List). But Mr. Heffley (Steve Zahn) wants Greg to be more like the neighbor's three outdoorsy sons and decides to spend some quality time with Greg. When the father and son's interests prove incompatible, Greg avoids his father's overtures by pretending to have a job at the country club where Rowley and Holly are members. Eventually Greg's lies catch up with him, and he has to deal with disappointing both his friend and his father.

Is it any good?

Director David Bowers is back again to helm another adaptation of Jeff Kinney's ubiquitous book series. Dog Days continues to highlight the same silly antics that get Greg in trouble every time he tries to outsmart his family and friends, and Rowley remains the most unconditionally faithful sidekick ever. Gordon is adorably dorky as the head Wimpy Kid, and, as in the first two films, Capron's lovable Rowley steals several scenes with his hilarious gestures and facial expressions. Plus, for once, here's a kid who absolutely loves to be with his parents -- no matter how overprotective and sentimental they are toward him.

With slightly less emphasis on the sillier secondary characters like Fregley, Chirag, and Patty, Dog Days instead follows Greg's first real attempt at middle-school romance. Despite how pretty she is, Holly is nothing like her mean-girl older sister Heather; she's sweet and accepting and just the kind of girl who seems out of Greg's league, but is actually interested right back. If only there were more movies where the dorky girl gets the handsome and cool guy! As always, there's a predictable amount of bathroom humor, but as long as you don't mind the bodily fluid jokes, this tween comedy is certain to entertain the 12-and-under set ... and their parents.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the various parent-child relationships are portrayed in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Which parents are more believable -- the Heffleys or the Jeffersons? How does the relationship between Greg and his dad change?

  • Why are movies aimed at tween boys filled with so much potty humor? Are the fart and booger jokes necessary? Do girls like this kind of humor, too?

  • Rowley is a fiercely loyal friend to Greg, but is Greg always a good friend to Rowley? What does Greg do to redeem himself to Rowley?

  • Fans of the books: How does the movie compare to the Dog Days novel? Which characters were different or new? Did you like the changes?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love book characters

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate