Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)
Directed by Miguel Arteta
Based on Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Elise & Zoey Vargas
Dick Van Dyke
Running time: 82 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Alexander’s day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Well, what can I say about this one? It’s a family movie aimed at kids. I thought it did a good job keeping various ages in mind (probably starting around age 7 or 8 & up) and I don’t think the parents who take their kids to this one will hate it or anything. I even think non-grumpy teens wouldn’t mind it as there’s a teenage brother (if there’s such a thing as a non-grumpy teen?). Sometimes the animated thing can be a little boring so you almost feel like you’re watching a “proper movie” at least when you start watching some live action stuff with your kid.
I enjoyed this one just fine as a wholesome “family” movie. I didn’t know the story at all so don’t know how closely it follows the book. What I liked is that you see a day in the life of each family member so you get each of their stories as they each have their own “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”. Being the age of the parents I of course liked their stories, especially Jennifer Garner’s book publishing fiasco (with a visit from Dick Van Dyke. Chim Chim Cher-ee!). The title character, Alexander, is just turning 12 so you have the story of his birthday party drama as well as his teenage brother’s prom drama, his older sister’s school play drama, and both his parents and their separate work dramas.
It’s of course a little “silly” at times but not to the point that I found it at all irritating, which is more than I can say for a lot of kids’ films. The kids felt “real” as opposed to some perfect-looking actors and the family felt like a realistic, loving family plus they didn’t bicker in obnoxious ways (which is far too common in some family movies and always gets on my nerves). Jennifer Coolidge has a small role as the teenage brother’s driving instructor. She may be a “love her or hate her” but I love her – she always cracks me up! Steve Carell is also not to everyone’s taste but I don’t think anyone would mind him in this – he plays it straight. OH! And the baby “brother” is played by the same set of twin girls who played the baby girl in Bad Neighbours (aka Neighbors). Most adorable babies EVER.
This is a perfectly fine wholesome family film that’s actually pretty fun and has something for everyone as there are characters of varying ages with each of their own storylines. Even Jennifer Garner’s character using the word “penis” was still wholesome (and one of the funniest bits! but that may just be me showing my maturity level). I saw a few negative “critic” reviews but, seriously – lighten up grumpy butts! What do they expect – The Godfather for kids? Sometimes you wonder if certain adults were ever kids themselves. This movie is what it is and I consider it a perfectly acceptable form of simple family entertainment that isn’t too preachy or too stupid – it’s just meant to be fun.
My Rating: 6/10