2015 / Director. Miguel Arteta.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY didn't have to try very hard to win me over. I am sucker for this brand of family film and having known the original book so well, it was a no-brainer for me. Just as the book was, the movie is based on one simple premise. One family having a very bad day. The story takes place on Alexander's 12th birthday. He feels as though bad luck follows him wherever he goes and that no one understands. And so when the time comes to make a wish, he wishes that his family could spend a day in his shoes. And so be it. Everything that can go wrong, does go wrong for the Cooper family as they are pummelled by one mishap after another. It is slapstick comedy at a basic level and it has been written beautifully. The lowbrow nature of the comedy will appeal to almost every kid watching and the parental humour will definitely resonate with adults. Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner play the loving parents and their onscreen chemistry is wonderful. They make for a believable couple and amongst all of the mayhem and frustrations surrounding them, they maintain a positive outlook that keeps the film from becoming too puerile. It was surprising to read that 20th Century Fox began the development of the film but sold it to Disney when they had lost confidence in the project. That's a real head-scratcher considering that Fox do this sort of movie so well (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, RAMONA & BEEZUS)... but thankfully so does Disney. There are a few moments of vulgarity that push ALEXANDER beyond the G-friendly Disney that we come to expect and its nice to see them pushing past the mommy-brigade to appeal to older kids. The running time is nice and short and the movie never overstays its welcome. It's tight from start to finish and is a whole lot of fun.