Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Day
Catastrophes just seem to follow Alexander: from toppling over in full view of the object of his affection, to finding bubble gum in his hair and accidentally setting the classroom on fire, Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) wishes his good-fortuned family could just understand what it is like to have one bad day precede another. So, sitting alone with a birthday sundae, he blows out the single candle he set himself and casts forth his yearning onto the midnight skies. Lo and behold, as if by a sprinkling of fairy dust, his desire becomes reality and mum, dad, brother and sister endure the mother of all bad days, while Alexander breezes through it, unscathed.
Some scenarios are more humorous than others, the highlight being the elder brother Anthony’s driving test, presided over by an absurdly overbearing woman (Jennifer Coolidge) who ruses him into answering the phone to snooty girlfriend Celia (Bella Thorne) while driving. You can imagine the disaster that follows suit. Others lack a little lustre, such as mum Kelly’s (Jennifer Garner) PR disaster, which could have been afforded more of a comical carte blanche.
However, despite its limited raucous belly laughs, screenwriter Rob Lieber and director Miguel Arteta successfully create a highly enjoyable feature-length script from a 32-page children’s story that culls the usual Disney saccharine stereotypes. Dad (Steve Carell) is a refreshingly mature, helpful “fommy” (a stay-at-home father), avoiding the typical foolish cliché, while sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) plays an aspiring actress who borders on the obsessive rather than the syrup-dipped mawkish caricature kind. Of course, being Disney, there’s a happy ending but even then Liber and Arteta glimpse at an above PG-rated theme, breaking the Disney mould yet again.
This film won’t crack any Academy Awards, though what it lacks in sophistication and emotional complexity, it makes up for in sheer for-all-the-family fun. A great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon in front of a big screen with the kids.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Day is released nationwide on 24th October 2014.
Watch the trailer for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Day here: