'Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Day' Review Roundup: Disney Live-Action Flick Gets Mostly Positive Notices
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible Very Bad, No Good Day follows a rough 24 hours in the life of 11-year-old Alexander Cooper.
Adapted for the big screen from Judith Viorst's 1972 children's picture book, Alexander begins with the titular character waking up with gum in his hair – which ends up being the least of his troubles as the day unfolds. What’s worse, Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) feels like his family is failing to show him due empathy, making him conclude that he’s the only one with bad luck in the bunch.
In Miguel Arteta’s movie, the following day explores a bad day for Alexander’s mom and dad (Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell) and his siblings Anthony (Dylan Minnette), Emily (Kerris Dorsey) and Trevor. Throughout his family’s “terrible, horrible, very bad, no good day,” Alexander tries to help everyone deal with the steady stream of misfortune.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible Very Bad, No Good Day is a safe, family-friendly film that’s pretty good, though not spectacular, according to critics. The harmless Disney fun plays it relatively safe, but not too safe that it’ll be a drag for parents and older siblings, who are bringing younger kids to the theaters. Carell and Garner, according to the reviews, really make the film come to life.
“Director Miguel Arteta, who’s previous work is a mixed bag of television and film, gets almost everything right here, including bringing together a solid cast, which includes Steve Carrell as the manically upbeat house husband (or “fommy” for father-mommy) and Jennifer Garner, whose brown eyes and furrowed brow nicely channel maternal love and concern.” – Bruce DeMara, The Toronto Star
“Going to a live-action family film usually entails plenty of eye rolling, low expectations and overpriced concessions. Parents chalk it up to yet another selfless thing they do for their children in lieu of enjoying Oscar-bound prestige films, dark, twisty thrillers or raunchy comedies. So imagine the novelty of a family-friendly movie that manages to make parents and older siblings laugh while still firmly appealing to the elementary-school crowd.” – Sandie Angulo Chen, The Washington Post
“the family comedy “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” has a knockabout charm and is frequently hilarious. Working from a script by Rob Lieber, indie-turned-mainstream director Miguel Arteta (“Chuck and Buck”) keeps the action speeding along while eliciting spot-on performances. Carell is at his discombobulated best, and Garner anchors the proceedings with aplomb.” – Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
It's Arteta's ease with generating that slight sense of social awkwardness that makes "Alexander" a cut above the usual live-action family comedy.Of course the cast helps, too.Steve Carell is his usual hard-working, quietly normal stuff as the Dad. And after her sour, strident turn in "Men, Women & Children," it's a delight to see a goofy Jennifer Garner again, happily jumping into slapstick situations and bad haircuts.” – Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible Very Bad, No Good Day is currently in wide release.