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

 

Walt Disney Pictures

 

Rating: PG

 

Reason for the Rating: Rude humor including some reckless behavior and language.

 

Plot Summary: Alexander, who's used to having bad days, watches as his entire family experiences one, epic bad day.

 

PopFam Recommends: This is a really fun family movie everyone will enjoy!

 

We’ve all had them. Bad hair days. Mondays. A day that “just isn’t my day.” Days when it seems like everything you touch goes wrong. Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) is used to those kinds of days. The day before his 12th birthday, he wakes up with gum in his hair, sets the science lab on fire, and finds out no one is coming to his birthday party. And that’s just the start.

 

Thankfully for Alexander, he lives with a family who believes they are “#blessed” despite Alexander’s bad day. His dad, Ben (Steve Carrell) is out of work, but, hey, he gets to spend time with the kids and take care of the house! Mom (Jennifer Garner) is a working mother, able to juggle all the demands of career and home, feeling thankful and fulfilled by both. His older brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette), is going to the prom and dating the most popular girl in school. His sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey) is starring as Peter Pan in the 8th grade play, and baby Trevor (Elise and Zoey Vargas) is just as cute and happy as can be. How can a boy who suffers from bad days survive in a family of so much positive energy? How can they understand what it feels like to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? Wishing on a birthday candle Alexander simply asks that his family would understand.

 

And so begins one epic bad day. The car won’t start on Mom’s important day at work. Dad gets a call for an interview, but the baby sitter cancels. Anthony gets suspended from school. The baby sucks on a permanent marker. Emily wakes up with a cold. How bad can this get? Pretty bad, actually. And while days like that are horrible to live through, surprisingly they’re pretty entertaining to watch. Steve Carrell is, of course, the comedic star of the movie and is so amusing in this role. What dad goes to an interview smelling of vomit and wearing a pirate shirt with a smile on his face? Steve Carrell. And he pulls it off beautifully, in a way that is completely believable.

 

I think what’s so special about this movie is that we can all relate to each situation a character is placed in. The difference is that it’s carried way beyond sanity. Every high-schooler has dreams of going to prom, but who ends up being chauffeured by their entire family in a van that’s completely totaled and smells of vomit? Most of us would go to great lengths to correct a mistake at our job, but who ends up in a confrontation with Dick Van Dyke? As each family member faces their worst day, it makes ours look not so bad.

 

Alexander is the kind of family movie you wait for, not only because it’s a fun story that will amuse everyone, but it has a great message about families and the strength that can be found when they stick together, even on very bad days. Which really are the days they need to support each other the most, right?

 

Content-wise, there isn’t really anything to keep a family from seeing this film together ... no foul language, no sex, no scantily clad women or foul jokes. Just an entertaining movie that will bring a smile to your face.

 

Special features on the Blu-ray edition of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day include a behind-the-scenes "walkabout" with child actor, Ed Oxenbould, as well as a silly blooper reel and a music video. The fun bit here, though, is "Alexander...in Real Life" featurette that delivers author Judith Viorst and her son—the real-life Alexander!—talking about the story behind the classic book. Enjoy it with your kids.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• What's the worst day you can remember?

 

• On the way to the hibachi restaurant the Cooper family begins singing, and Anthony tells Celia it's something they do for fun, to make them smile. What is something your family does that other people might think is a bit kooky?

 

• What is it about your family you find special?

 

--JW

 

Tags: Judith Viorst,Steve Carrell,Jennifer Garner,Alexander,Ed Oxenbould

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

 

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