There is always a risk when a movie studio takes a beloved children’s book and turns it into a feature length film. Most of us read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day either ourselves as a child or have read it TO someone. It’s a classic.
Monday night, 10/6, I was invited to a sneak preview and was able to take two friends- one of which happens to be 7 (making her an excellent critic for this film).
Here is the breakdown of the plot:
Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life—a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one.
I have to be honest- I was pretty bored during the movie. It’s based on a 20 page book and you can only stretch out that plot so much. Because of the casting of Steve Carell I was expecting a LOT of physical, laugh out loud humor. It comes but not until we are about 30 minutes into the 80 minute film. The other issue is that you REALLY can’t think about the plot too much. In order to make a bad DAY you have to pack it- no parent would ever schedule a child’s birthday party on the same night as opening for another child’s play AND junior prom. There are a million problems adults would notice with the plot. It’s hard to just sit back and enjoy.
However the 7 year old sitting next to me leaned to her mom about 60 minutes in and said “can we buy this when it comes out on DVD”? She laughed out loud so many times at things like kangaroos, a child drinking WAY too much cough syrup and the entire family kicking trash cans outside of a Japanese restaurant. It’s got the perfect kid humor and a few random, well-hidden adult jokes as well. It also shows the strength of a family who sticks together and wraps everything up in a nice bow at the end.
I wouldn’t take a child much younger than 6 or 7. The humor would be lost and the film has earned it’s PG rating. But for older kids not quite ready for the “tween” movies yet it is perfect. And if the adults will go into it ready to just have fun, it’s a GREAT family flick. Catch a matinee or when it hits the dollar theater- it would make for a nice Saturday morning!