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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Updated on November 1, 2014

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Director: Miguel Arteta

Writers: Rob Lieber, Judith Viorst

Cast: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey, Elise Vargas, Zoey Vargas, Sidney Fullmer, Bella Thorne, Megan Mullally, Mekai Curtis, Lincoln Melcher, Reese Hartwig, Martha Hackett, Mary Mouser, Dick Van Dyke, Jennifer Coolidge

Synopsis: 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.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor including some reckless behavior and language

Stevennix2001's Rating:

6 / 10

Pros:

- Jokes were funny

- The film moved at a good pace

- Steve Carrel, Jennifer and Jennifer Garner deliver solid performances

- The Dick Van Dyke cameo was funny

- Jennifer Coolidge was funny in her small role

- Great moral to teach kids and adults about how sometimes you need bad days to appreciate the good ones.

Cons:

- The rest of the acting wasn't that great; outside of Dick Van Dyke, Jennifer Coolidge, Steve Carrel and Jennifer Garner

- The characters are poorly written to be generic stereotypes; especially Alexander himself.

- The story is extremely predictable, while leaving no cliche untouched.

- Premise is beyond ridiculous, and rips off too many other family comedies that we've seen in the past.

Family Comedy 101

Don't you wish real life was like this when you were a kid? Where you could easily wish for something, and it would magically come true for whatever bulls*** reason. In ilk of family comedies like "Big", "Like Mike", "Angels in the Outfield" and etc, it seems Disney has their own family film that's eerily similar in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."

Alexander ( Ed Oxenbould) is your stereotypical kid protagonist that's socially awkward, naive and pure hearted. He has a crush on some girl that he still hasn't asked out yet. Aw, how cute. He shares a love/hate relationship with his idiot older brother, and other siblings. Of course, you also have the token black kid that's his best friend.

Of course, our wonder bread protagonist is having a horrible day. In fact, you could say he's having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. No pun intended. And like Murphy's law says, everything that can go wrong will go wrong for poor Alexander. Meanwhile, his family has it made. They're on top of the world. His sister is finally cast for the role of Peter Pan in the upcoming school play. His older brother is dating the most popular girl in school, and plans to take her to the prom fairly soon. His dad has an interview with some gaming company, while his mom could be getting a promotion soon. As for his baby brother, well he's just happy that he has his bumblebee pacifier to suck on.

Needless to say, Alexander gets fed up hearing about how great their day was that he ends up wishing that they could know what it's like to have a bad day themselves. Yeah because everyone in this family has never had a bad day outside of Alexander, right? I mean it's not like adults have to worry about things like bills, work and etc. Pfftt! Screw that. That's nothing compared to Alexander's problems about the possibility that nobody shows up to his birthday party tomorrow; including the girl that he has a crush on too.

On the eve of his birthday, he makes a wish for his family to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Although it's never directly stated that anything magical happened to make Alexander's wish come true, but it's fairly obvious that it works. His sister ends up with a cold that could ruin her chances of playing Peter Pan in the school play. A series of bizarre events happen to his older brother that could destroy his relationship with his girlfriend. A tiny mistake almost costs the mother her job. The job interview doesn't go as well as his father would have hoped. And, his baby brother loses his pacifier. However, Alexander is having a great day though.

Not only does he find out that everyone at school might going to his party after all, but he also learns that his crush might show up too. Hell, his dad even arranged to have the entire party keep an Australian theme to it; complete with a petting zoo. Wow. When I was a kid, I was lucky to go to places like "Chuck E. Cheese" or "Six Flags" for my birthdays, yet this kid's family ordered him a freaking petting zoo in his backyard? Unbelievable.

Without giving away too much, they go through a lot of adversity. Alexander starts to feel guilty thinking that he might have cursed his family for the day. He apologizes. They accept. They all hug, and they learn some crappy lesson about how you need the bad days to appreciate the good ones. And, that's pretty much the entire film in a nutshell.

The story is generic and bland to the point that's forgettable; while leaving no cliche unturned. The characters are poorly written; especially the main protagonist, who comes off as a bland stereotype of a thousand other kid characters that we've seen in the past.

The comedy aspects were funny, but it doesn't make up for the extremely predictable story arc that this movie follows. Sure, you can tell Steve Carrel and Jennifer Garner tried their best to carry the film, as they delivered solid comedic performances. Plus, the brief cameo by comedic legend, Dick Van Dyke, was hilarious. And, I have to admit that I loved Jennifer Coolidge's scene, as that was probably the best part of the movie.

Sadly, the rest of the cast was fairly mediocre at best; especially Ed Oxenbould. Granted, I know he's just a kid, and it's not his fault that his character was poorly written. However, this kid's performance is so mediocre that it sounded like he was reading all his lines off a damn script for Pete's sake.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day" is a piece of crap. Far from it actually. Although the film does have it's flaws, it has a good moral that kids and adults can learn from. And as I pointed out before, the jokes were pretty funny.

Granted, the plot and characters are a bit bland for my tastes, but it's the nature of these types of comedies.

Overall, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" is a fairly decent family comedy that's worth checking out once it comes out on Netflix. However, I wouldn't bother checking it out in theaters, as the story alone doesn't make it worth it.

© 2014 Steven Escareno

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