Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life-a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one. (c) Disney
What I liked about Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was the family dynamic amongst the chaos. Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner were very good as the parents who navigated the hectic family life. Their situations are relatable to the parents who watch from finding a work-life balance from a demanding career to the hardships of job searching. Supporting them were a rag tag team of child actors lead by Ed Oxenbould with his older brother (Dylan Minnette) and older sister (Kerris Dorsey) who come across as the perfectionist brats that hinder his self-esteem. You want success for Alex while hoping his family can survive their crazy day and a lot of bad circumstances happen to his family on that Very Bad Day. The life’s lessons kids can take away from the film are that those negative situations cannot take away your identity and attitude.
Director Miguel Arteta of Cedar Rapids (the small indie comedy that never materialized to the cult following it deserved) was a refreshing choice for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It works better than I anticipated. I like it when a movie, especially a modern live action Disney one, delightfully surprises me. The fact Arteta made a family film as a follow up to his foul indie comedy showcases his versatility as a director. There was an energetic wit to the filmmaking that distracts from the pettiness and weaknesses from the sitcom, though funny, situations. Between Miguel and the actors, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, was a sweet and scrappy family movie that rings true to the old fashioned genre with flirting with 1980’s-style PG naughtiness. I recommended to see it with your family or younger viewers.
I rate Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day a 6.5 out of 10.