Director: Miguel Arteta
Starring: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Rated: PG (For rude humor including some reckless behavior and language)
Critics are normally supposed to begin a review with a little bit of foreplay, where we give you as hint at where we might be going with our opinion before we succumb to our natural position on the film. However I simply can't do that with “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” because this film was simply annoying. Horribly, aggravating, stupefying annoying. The film just dragged on and on, never ceasing to end or give the audience anything funny to watch. It's like being stuck in a room with a child with ADD who desperately wants your attention, so he just does a bunch of stuff and hopes someone notices. Of course we notice the kid, but if we could tell the kid what we think we'd tell him he should probably go read a book (at which point the mother would scold us for not being “understanding” or something).
This is a shame because Alexander himself (Ed Oxenbould) seems like a nice kid. Not a bad kid in any real way, he's simply having a bad day because the local bully has scheduled his birthday party on the same day as his (which means everyone will be going to that party as opposed to his…been there). There's also the problem where his face has been photo shopped on bodies that are not school appropriate. In the real world this would probably qualify for sexual abuse, but I digress. There's also a girl involved, but that seems more like a harmless crush than anything else. If all this wasn't bad enough, when he gets home his family are all doing great in their own lives, so he feels like they don't understand what it's like to have a bad day. He makes a wish on a candle that they would understand him and (wouldn't you know it) the following day everyone is now having a bad day except him. His brother has girl problems. His sister gets sick. His mom fails to proof read a book and is on the verge of being fired.
Why, Dick Van Dyke even gets upset with them. The only one who seems to not have it as bad as everyone else is his dad (Steve Carell), who actually has the luck of having a job interview after being workless for several months. However, he also has to take care of a crying baby who lost his bumble bee pacifier (all parents who sympathize can saw “aww” now). Through all this there are spills, vomiting, penis jokes (oh Disney and your naughty PG rating), and (much to my amazement) a fighting kangaroo. If I were to describe this movie it would be “annoying things happen and nobody laughs.” Watching this made me realize just how old I've gotten. If I were ten years old there is a chance I would have found this humorous. Now though it is no better than an Adam Sandler movie, and only slightly less annoying than a YouTuber. None of the actors are ever given anything funny to do and you feel so sorry that they got involved in this at all. Not even Carell's mugging mines any laughs.
I suppose if you get down to it, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” isn't exactly offensive entertainment. If you were to buy this to keep your kids entertained for a little while so you could pay the bills I doubt it will make your kids any stupider. It's just…I don't know, don't we love our kids more than this? If we think our kids are smart and special, and deserving of respect, why even suggest that a movie like this is worthy of our money? I will say that at the very least “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is amply named as far as I'm concerned. Because when people ask me how work is these days, having to see movie like this one is a critic's definition of having a bad day at work.
Parents, there is crude humor, but really nothing else wrong. Oh, and a penis joke. Classy. Recommended for ages 8 and up.