Australian Council on Children and the Media

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog days

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Not recommended under 6, PG 6-7 (Violence; Some crude humour)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog days
  • a review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog days completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 April 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to violence and some crude humour
Children 6-7 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and some crude humour
Children 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog days
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, based upon the popular graphic novel, is the story of Greg (Zachary Gordon) 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, attempting to gain the favour of the beautiful Holly (Peyton List) while convincing his father Frank (Steve Zahn) that he’s nothing but responsible.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Father/son relationships

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is limited violence and some accidental harm in this movie, including:

  • Roderick, Greg’s teenage brother, is seen throwing 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 opening fire and Greg runs away in fear, despite the weapons not being real
  • Greg and Rowley play tennis with two girls – they continually get hit with tennis balls (Rowley gets hit in the crotch, whilst Greg himself 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’d been using, he is tackled to the floor by two policemen
  • Whilst on camp, Greg accidentally hits his father’s hand with a mallet
  • At the birthday party of Holly’s sister, Roderick performs a bad musical act – Holly’s sister then yells “I’m going to kill you!” before swinging a microphone stand at him

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • While campers 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 of the children jump in fright.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • At the beginning of the film, Greg does not have a good relationship with his father. Whilst Greg is listening in the background, his father tells his mother that they have nothing in common, and that spending time with his son “isn’t fun for either one of us”. Greg is visibly hurt.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

None of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple laptop

Sexual references

Some mild sexual references include:

  • Roderick attempts to catch the attention of a female lifeguard by pretending to drown. An older man sees and pulls him out of the pool instead, proceeding to give him CPR. Roderick is seen crying and distressed afterwards.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial and implied nudity in this movie, including:

  • The beginning of the film shows a scene set in a male shower. There are a number of 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 (not seen). He then remains there until the very end of the day, out of fear of people seeing him without any clothes.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

Mild coarse language and crude humour include:

  • Frank telling another adult to “Shut up”
  • words such as “jerk” and “butt”
  • Greg apologising to his friend Rowley for using his toothbrush “to get dog poop of my shoe”

In a nutshell

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog days is the latest film based on the series of popular books. It is a story about growing up and learning about the consequences of one’s actions. Despite only wanting to stay inside and play video games at the beginning of the summer, Greg learns that there is more to life – that relationships are crucial, and that you should strive for the things that you want. It is aimed at, and likely be enjoyed by, upper primary and young teenage children.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The importance of being honest and not lying to friends and family
  • The knowledge that every person makes mistakes; it is how to deal with them that really matters
  • It is crucial to forgive the people you love
  • Taking chances and being proactive in going after the things you want in life


This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The consequences of lying to others, particularly the people you care about
  • The importance of admitting to wrongdoings and mistakes, no matter how hard this may be.

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