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

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day Poster

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day Poster
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is very loosely based on the classic children’s picture book by the same name.  Ed Oxenbould is the twelve year old with Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Kerris Dorsey, and Dylan Minnette as his family.  And they all are about to have – say it with me – a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

When Alexander has a rather unfortunate day right before his birthday, he makes a midnight birthday wish that the rest of his seemingly perfect family could understand his trials and tribulations.  With a bit of Liar Liar magic, and starting with the entire family oversleeping, it looks like that’s just what’s going to happen today.

Judging from the trailers, it would be easy guess that this was going to end up as a THNGVB movie.  It would make for a snappy, if obvious, review title.  Amazingly, that’s not the case.  This is thanks to an eclectic and  gung ho cast, which also includes Megan Mullally, Donald Glover, Jennifer Coolidge, and Dick Van Dyke.  Not that it’s great, it’s just not terrible or horrible.

There are plenty of slapstick moments mostly involving Carell, and unfortunate (and unlikely) incidents involving everyone else.  Pretty much everything that could (or couldn’t) go wrong, does.  The day seems cursed as everyone simultaneously has one of their worst days ever unfold around them.  That means lots of opportunities for humor of the childish kind, but few of the jokes and gags really stick.  It never really unleashes the potential laughs – instead it’s almost funny in an ironic sort of way.  It doesn’t tread into Adam Sandler‘s territory of brain cell euthanasia and gross out bits though, so that’s certainly a plus.

Alexander is mildly funny, mildly clever, and mildly heartfelt.  It’s pretty middle of the road with plenty of mild issues.  The main character himself is far too well spoken to be believable, especially when delivering important life lessons to his family and the audience.  While plot holes are obviously not of much concern in this type of film, they’re still here, making the whole thing all the more ridiculous.  Not much makes a whole lot of sense as the plot mostly consists of unfortunate incidences strung together until they culminated into what could be the worst or best day of this family’s life.

It’s not as bad as you may fear, but this is one film that you don’t need to rush out and see anytime soon either.

Mrs. Hamster says:

“They should have just called this movie something else and pretend it wasn’t based on a book.  Kids won’t like it because the movie is mostly based on the older characters.”

My rating: Two out of five hats


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day curses 3,088 theaters October 10

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