And take a deep breath in.... and hold... Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day follows the story of Alexander (Ed Oxenbould), a young kid who's constantly finding his days to be less than ordinary. Well, they all suck, really. His father, Ben (Steve Carell), has finally got a job interview at a gaming company. His mother, Kelly (Jennifer Garner) is getting her children's book published. His sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey) snatched the role of Peter Pan in her school play. And his brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette) is going to prom with "the hottest girl in the school!" On the morning of Alexander's twelfth birthday, he wishes that his family can have just one day that's as bad as his always are, which to his surprise ends up happening.
Oddly enough (take another deep breath in), Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day isn't actually a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad movie (and release). The trailer was occasionally fun, if not rather forced and very very Disney, although that's usually not really a bad thing. There is, however, such thing as overly-Disney, and I feared this movie would go down that path, like many of their live action films do. It doesn't, thank goodness. It does, unfortunately, have a few problems though. The main one being that it's target audience is yet to be decided. The film plays off as a children's film, but the content and humour is aimed for a more teenager-y audience. It's a problem, but I enjoyed it, so there's that. I was the only person in my theatre who was both over the age of five and was willing to see the film, and I was also the one who laughed the hardest. I'm still not entirely sure if that says something about me or the movie.
Jennifer Garner needs to do more films like this. I'm not her agent, I damn well know that, but if I were then I'd be very happy with this film. She's a good actress and all, but she doesn't pick the best roles. She was great in last year's, or this year's if you're an Australian like me, Dallas Buyers Club, but other than that she doesn't have many memorable roles. Well, Elektra is memorable, but not because it's good. She does have another film in cinemas right now though called Men, Women & Children. I should probably check that one out too, but I'm starting to drift away from the topic.
The film's rather predictable too. It follows the numbers, colours in-between the lines, and comes out safely on the other side. It's a formulaic tale of family, but it's an entertaining one. I don't even really mind that it's predictable though because it's handled well. The film is full of so many small, family centred moments. Some humorous others meaningful. There's a scene with the whole family making a song out of weird sounds they can make that's not only sweet, but also rather hilarious. That's what this film is. In fact, that one scene alone pretty much summarises what you're in for when going in to see this film.
Outside of Carell and Garner, the performances aren't too hip. It's rarely a good idea to place child actors in main roles, but family centred films do this commonly and so it's only the ones with good performances that end up being classics. Or close enough to one. Alexander and the blah blah blah won't become a classic. There's absolutely no chance of that. But it's fun while it lasts. The talent just isn't quite up to scratch with what it should be. Dylan Minnette was great in last year's Prisoners, but that's presumably because he's given a supporting role there and a lead role here. Maybe I'm being too harsh. This film is made for kids after all. Oh well, I liked it. I just have problems with it.
To sum up, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day doesn't have much talent outside of Garner and Carell, plus the film follows a predictable storyline, but it's simple, innocent fun that's great while it lasts.