Thursday, April 16, 2015

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

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The title really needs to be longer.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – 3 out of 5

As a child, I never read the 1972 children’s book this film is based on but since I’m no stranger to having crummy days, I can kind of relate to what is happening to Alexander. I think we all can. Heck, I would love to meet the person who never has bad days of any kind and immediately put all my money, effort and time into trying to give them the worst day ever—because I’m clearly a petty, petty man. Or, instead, I could just let that person watch the film and understand what it is like to have things not go your way.

Could be could find a bear stuck in your hair.  That'd be awful.

Relax kid.  You're just in high school.  Unless you never
move out of your hometown, you'll soon realize that
high school sucked.
Alexander (Ed "I have the last name of a Viking" Oxenbould) is about to have a really bad day. In theory, his day should be good because he’s having a birthday party but, when he wakes up, he slips on a skateboard, spills some milk, finds gum in his hair and discovers that the most popular kid in his grade is throwing a sick party that will over shadow his and cause nobody to attend and celebrate the anniversary of his birth. Meanwhile, his family seems to be on the verge of having a great day. His father Ben (Steve Carell) has a job interview at a video game designing company, his mother Kelly (Jennifer Garner) is climbing the company ladder at her job, his brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette) is dating the most popular girl in school and is going to go to prom with her AND get his driver’s license, his sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) is the lead in the school play and his baby brother Trevor (Elise and Zoey Vargas) is a baby…and that’s about it for Baby Trevor—but that’s still good. 

The baby is already trying to figure out where he went wrong with his life.

Irritated over the hand fate has dealt him, Alexander makes a birthday wish and asks that his family understands what it is like to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Then, on the day everything was set to go his family’s way, his wish comes true…

You could have wished for a million more wishes, you fool!

Alexander looks like he just saw a dead body.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, overall, is a mildly entertaining movie that isn’t the most memorable but it’s not completely terrible. The biggest selling point and the highlight of the film for me is Steve Carell. Carell is naturally charismatic and extremely funny and charming. He rarely disappoints me when it comes to anything he does and he proves to be the most amusing part of the film. The strongest points of the film (and the funniest) usually came from him and he helped keep the movie flowing. The rest of the cast are not terrible and they are all doing their jobs very well. No one is really distracting and, in fact, Oxenbould is fairly decent in the lead but the film still isn’t a very memorable affair and is a "safe bet" family film that is good enough for a momentary distraction but not something that will make it into the usual rotation of films that you watch on a regular basis. 

Your husband is get to tell people that.

"It's right behind me isn't it."
While the story is solid (even though it is pretty generic and a bit like Liar Liar) the biggest problem that held the film back was the really bad comedy. The jokes are terribly predictable and usually just stem from awkward slapstick and sometimes followed by a bad one-liner. For example, there is a scene where Alexander’s brother knocks over a trophy case and, after causing a huge disastrous mess, a teacher comes out and calls him "Wreck-It Ralph." It’s a bad joke that little ones might find funny but it really does set the bar for what you would expect in the film. However, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I was looking for excellently crafted and ridiculously witty humor. Characters breaking stuff and getting messy is what I predicted the film would be and it delivered that. It’s just that, personally, I found most of it amusing on a level where I will acknowledge its amusing-ness but not actually laugh. This is a little strange to me, though, because Steve Carell is a master at making bad situations hilarious (remember how hysterically uncomfortable he made situations in The Office?) but, in this one, he just sort of made them slightly chuckle-worthy. Then again, he can’t be expected to do the same thing he did in The Office in a kid’s film.

No mortal being can be as adorable and likable as Steve Carell.
He has to be a part of a mass hallucination we are all experiencing.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day isn’t terrible or horrible or no good or very bad. It’s watchable and has its moments and the cast is entertaining. Overall, however, the film just didn’t have enough of those fun and heartwarming moments to make the film really stand out. It’s balanced enough with its humor and story that parents won’t feel like they are going insane and being talked down to if they join the kids watching it but, in the end, it just lacks the magic and defining moments to make the film something that you won’t forget the minute the credits hit.

Also, Burn Gorman is in the film...and that matters to me because I'm a Torchwood fan.


  1. You're not gonna review Fifty Shades of Grey, are you?

    1. I wanna say no but, I'll be honest, I'm most likely going to review it. That is, if I can stay awake through it.

    2. Yeah, just try not to cause severe harm to yourself while watching it. The male character in the movie would want you to.


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