Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014) – reviewed by George

Such fun! A talented cast of adults and young people make this slapstick comedy totally enjoyable. As per the title, it all revolves around Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) and his family: Dad Ben (Steve Carell), Mom Kelly (Jennifer Garner), older brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette), older sister Emily (Kerris Dorrey), and Baby Trevor (who is played by twin girls, Elise and Zoey Vargas).
It seems to Alexander that everyone else in the family has good days with victories, while he has horrible days being photo-bombed with a PhotoShop job which puts him in girl’s clothes (with a girl’s body), being denied the least of pleasures by bossy teachers (he loves Australia and wants to do his report on that country, so his teacher spins a globe and stabs a finger at it and makes sure Alexander doesn’t get Australia – he stabs at the Northern Hemisphere, the rat!), and having a more popular classmate suddenly announce that his birthday party will be on the date that Alexander already picked and Alexander has already sent out invitations! And the family is not as supportive as they could be, or at least not in the way that Alexander needs.
So as Alexander prepares for bed the night before his party (which is also Anthony’s Junior Prom – his date Celia (Bella Thorne) has seen to it that they will be Duke and Duchess, and Emily’s opening night as her school’s star in “Peter Pan”), he can maybe be forgiven for wishing that just once someone else in the family could have a bad day so that they could know what it’s like and maybe be a little more sympathetic to Alexander.
Well, the wish comes true – to Alexander’s real horror. Due to a whole series of complications, Anthony won’t be able to drive himself and Celia to the prom, Emily gets sick and loses her voice and then gets stoned on cough syrup, Kelly manages to embarrass Dick van Dyke at a book-reading, and Ben’s job interview ends when he sets himself on fire (accidentally).
Then suddenly after Alexander apologizes, everything begins to sort itself out, and while much is still not so hot, many problems are solved.
This is a very good movie for parents to see with their grade school or junior high kids (while Anthony is in high school I’m not so sure that kids at that age will let themselves enjoy the situations as much as they should, especially if they have younger siblings and think the idea is to suggest that they should be nicer to them), and it might lead to some worthwhile discussion, as it does in the movie.

Directed by Miguel Arteta, Screen Story and Screenplay by Rob Lieber, Based on the Book by Judith Viorst.

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