Weekend Picks: ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days’ and ‘Total Recall’

Adam Pockross
Movie Talk

With two new flicks opening wide this weekend, and the current champ not about to give in, the box office race is too close to call; it's a veritable free-for-all between a wimpy kid, a caped crusader, and a memory-challenged super agent.

The weekend box office fight currently poses more questions than answers. Will the Schwarzenegger remake "Total Recall" find a way to fill Arnie's big shoes? Will "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" find footing as another family-friendly summer hit?  Or will the defending champ, "The Dark Knight Rises," go toe-to-toe with "Marvel's the Avengers" to become only this summer's second movie to win three straight weekends?

With such uncertainty, the only way to properly handicap the contenders is to take a closer look. As with anything worth betting on, the more you know, the better the bet. So here's a breakdown of both new films -- what you can expect and who will enjoy them most. And because we're givers here at Yahoo! Movies, we'll throw in a little preview of the films opening in limited release, as well.

[Related: Find showtimes and tickets for movies near you]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

PG for some rude humor.

What's the Story?

This film covers books three and four -- "The Last Straw" and "Dog Days" -- of Jeff Kinney's bestselling series of Wimpy Kid comic novels. The action revolves around the summer vacation adventures of teenager Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), including his attempts to dupe his dad (Steve Zahn) by faking employment at a hoighty-toighty country club, some messy mayhem caused by the new family dog, and really just the daily embarrassment that Greg somehow endures.

Who Will Dig It?

Fun for the whole fam. Plus, anyone who's ever read the books or seen the first two films should be equally delighted by the third installment, if not more so, seeing as this one tones down Greg's meanness a bit and puts him more in touch with his wimpy roots.

[Related: Find local showtimes and tickets for 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days']

Total Recall

PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.

What's the Story?

Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) should really be happier. Honestly, what else do you need when you have a wife as hot as Lori (Kate Beckinsale)? But Quaid's ho-hum factory worker existence drives him to Rekall, a memory enhancement business that promises to fit Quaid with real-seeming superspy memories. Those memories look a whole lot like reality though, and Quaid soon finds himself on the run from the well-trained Lori, the evil Chancellor Cohagen (Bryan Cranston), and an army of killer droids. Only Quaid's well-laid clues from his former double agent self, as well as the help of a beautiful resistance fighter (Jessica Biel), can help Quaid realize his true identity. But will it be enough to help the resistance topple the oppressive regime?

Who Will Dig It?

Sci-fi and action freaks should have their minds blown by the high-concept futuristic world and the high-speed hover car chases. Fans of the original should enjoy revisiting some old ground, including a couple obvious winks. Even the purists who believe the first film shouldn't be touched may find enough differences -- in both tone and plot -- to make it worth their while.

[Related: Get local showtimes and tickets for 'Total Recall']

In Limited Release

Opening in limited release this week, we've got Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones finding breaking up hard to do in "Celeste and Jesse Forever"; Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, and Jude Law showing that infidelity, global banking, and democracy are all intertwined in Fernando Meirelles' "360"; Paul Schneider stealing from a sperm bank to impregnate his wife (Olivia Munn) in "The Babymakers," from the same comedic team who brought us "Supertroopers"; and the documentary "Craigslist Joe" about a man who tries to live off Craigslist for a month, produced by Zach Galifianakis.

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