Film Review: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
Writer: Based off the book of the same name by Judith Viorst,
Screenplay: Rob Lieber
Director: Miguel Arteta
Date of release: October 10th 2014
Reviewed by: Tom Toaduff
So, this film sort of surprised me. I assumed it would be a family film that appeals to kids more than adults, but no. I saw the trailer and Steve Carell was in it (I like Steve Carell) and I thought “Meh, that might be OK.” So I went to see it when there weren’t any other good films out.
So what exactly is this film about? The film follows a young, eleven year old boy, the titular Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) and the worst day ever that he shares with his family; his Mum, Kelly (Jennifer Garner), his Dad, Ben (Steve Carell), his older brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette), his older sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey) and his younger brother, Trevor (Elise and Zoey Vargas). The film starts the day before Alexander's twelfth birthday, he wakes up and finds gum in his hair and clips it off with a pair of scissors. Kelly is working for a publication company that is currently publishing a new children's book, Anthony is trying to earn his driver's license so he can drive his girlfriend (Bella Thorne), to the school prom, Emily is rehearsing for the title role in her school play of Peter Pan, and Ben, who has been unemployed for several months, has got a job interview as a game designer for a video game company.
Then everything goes wrong. Alexander wishes on his birthday cake that everyone would have a bad day, like him. And, spoiler alert, they do. I’m not going far into detail with this film with the story. But anyway, what did I like about it? The humour. It wasn’t like, rolling around the floor trying to stop laughing, but I did laugh a lot in this film. The film had a lot of adult humour and innuendos, a lot more than you would expect from a PG family film, so I have to congratulate it for trying to reach out to the parents who are probably watching this with their kids. Another thing I liked in this film was the way the characters interacted with others. Mainly Alexander. There was a lot of social awkwardness and I found that really, relatable and it makes you feel for the character. My favourite film of all time is Scott Pilgrim VS The World, and that film has a lot of social awkwardness (from Scott). So maybe I can just relate to that sort of thing. I guess the things I didn’t like about the film was probably the story, it didn’t feel rushed, but it just sort of jumped from one scene to another. Some of the dialogue was pretty cheesy, but the film isn’t all that terrible. It’s not the film I would rush out to buy on DVD, or watch on Sky Movies. It could have been a lot worse, but it could have been better as well.
But wait! This review is not finished. As the thing that surprised me with this film was one of the guest stars. Torchwood’s own Burn Gorman (Owen Harper) plays the straight faced drama teacher in the film. He’s only in a few scenes about 45-60 minutes into it, but he is really good in the film. I’d like to see him in a few more big screen things.
And thus ending the review. The film is great for kids, teenagers can relate to it and it has some sort of charm in it (and some of the humour) to appeal to adults.