There’s nothing worse than a long and drawn out dumb kids movie. Thank heaven that Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day isn’t long – but that still doesn’t make it worth watching.
Based on the popular kids book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day tells the story of Alexander, a picked-on weird kid who feels all alone in his successful family of six. The night before his birthday, as he eats a pity cupcake and blows out the candle, he wishes for his perfect family to know what it’s like to live a day in his life. As his family wakes up the next morning, they each begin terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days of their own.
This short little 81-minute movie gets right to the point. As they begin their horrible day, the family quickly learns that they’ll have to rely on one another to make it through. Oddly, this is never a moral to the movie. It’s not a lesson that Alexander has to learn; he doesn’t walk away having learned that when he has awful days, he’s got a great family to hold them up. Instead, the entire silly concept is only used to place Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and some very awkward kid actors in absurd scenarios.
The dad (Carell) has to go to a job interview with the baby. The mom (Garner) has to watch her career defining project go up in flames. The older brother has to fix things with his girlfriend prior to passing his drivers test so that he can go to prom that night. The older sister has a nasty cold on the opening of her middle school theatrical debut. Alexander’s challenge is to put up with his family in preparation for his birthday party that none of his friends plan on attending.
Being a parent, I’ve locked in a rule about kids movies. Since I typically screen them all as press before my kids have a chance to see them, I’ll only take them to see it when it opens under the condition that it’s one that they’ll not only enjoy watching once (let’s be honest, most kids will enjoy anything kid-related), but that they’ll want to watch again and again. Even if it’s a movie that I despise, if I know they’ll want to revisit it, I’ll gladly introduce them to it – but Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is not that type of film. Sure, they’ll like it if I take them to see it today – but, just like I’m going to do once I’m finished with this review, they’ll never think of it again. If you need an 81-minute babysitter, look no further, as that’s all Alexander is good for.
(Photo credit: Buena Vista