A Film Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Adaptations are tricky things to pull off and even more so when they’re based off picture books or incredibly thin ones. Sometimes they marginally work, like Jumanji that was largely saved by the late Robin Williams. Sometimes they’re an incredible catastrophe like Mike Myers’ Cat in the Hat. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is one that works better than either of those two, helped by its thankfully brief eighty-one minutes. The story is quick, it moves along at an average pace, and it has quite the charming cast. Is it great? No. Is it kind of forgettable? Yes. But it’s a fun, pleasant family jaunt that won’t take up too much of your time.
The plot of the film is fairly straightforward if you know the book, have watched the trailer, and or simply read the title. There’s a middle school student named Alexander who has a, wait, wait for it, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Sorry about all the commas. Everything that could go wrong for a kid that age does and Alexander arrives at home to see that while his day sucked, everyone else in the family is having a great day. Which, to be fair, is a situation all of us have faced at some point or another. Well, not to this degree, but you get the idea. Anyhow, he wishes for the rest of his family to have a terrible day and that’s basically the movie. There is the Disney catharsis of emotion at the end that is to be expected but it’s okay.
The cast is really, really good. The hijinks can seem a bit contrived because the film has to give specific jokes to each member of the cast. But the cast’s delivery is what really allows the jokes to stick as well as they do. Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner, as expected, are absolutely brilliant. They bring their comedic timing to the nail her and it works. But the rest of the supporting cast is pretty great, to the point where it becomes all about the family and not just Alexander (which is totally fine). Carrell is not the breadwinner of the family, which was a nice touch. The characters in eighty-one minutes are given shadings, which is impressive. There’s some really funny moments in this, like when one of the kids is high on cough medicine and Garner opens the bathroom door on her changing son. The film has some good messages, too, like putting your family first when they need you and looking on the bright side.
Title: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Miguel Arteta
Producer: Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Lisa Henson
Screenplay by: Rob Lieber
Based On: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Starring: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould
Music: Christophe Beck
Cinematography: Terry Stacey
Editing: Pamela Martin
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, 21 Laps Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Running Time: 81 minutes
Release Dates: October 10, 2014
Image Courtesy: Screen Relish