“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” brings back the classic family-friendly comedy with lots of laughs for all ages.
Based very loosely (as almost a sequel) to Judith Viorst’s classic, but fictional, tale about on her own son’s (mis)adventures, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’s” cinematic version focuses on what happens when Alexander’s (Ed Oxenbould) bad luck seems to magically transfer to his formerly perfect family after he makes a birthday wish.
Rounding out the clan doomed to a comical day of near-ruination is always-optimistic, but downsized, stay-at-home “fommy” (father-mommy), Ben (Steve Carell), overworked supermom, Kelly (Jennifer Garner), ultra-thespian older sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey), ultra-cool older brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette), and baby Trevor (played by twins Elise and Zoey Vargas). Crazy fiasco after fiasco and mishaps a go-go follow Alexander’s secret wish for everyone in the family to finally experience his daily hardships. But, on the unexpected flip side of his wished-for-empathy from his family, Alexander finally appears to be having his best day ever.
“Alexander” is paced quickly and sprints through its brief 81-minute running time. Although the film doesn’t break new ground (but does include a surprise cameo from a former Disney musical star), it successfully brings back the classic, safe-for-the-whole family Disney comedy, with laugh-at-loud gags that work for all ages (from Carell seemingly improvising baby Trevor’s would-be speaking voice to Garner’s head-over-heels pratfall). Carell, in fact, reminds the older viewer of the archetypal, positive father figures from Disney of yore, including Fred MacMurray and Dean Jones. Nevertheless, Carell brings his role a modern spin, as he is seemingly unafraid to get entirely wacky if the scene calls for a dose of all-out merriment. Oxenbould, too, with his cutely crooked way of speaking, shines as Alexander and engages in every scene as the child who never expected so much to change for his family so quickly.
Full of positive family messages about inclusion, empathy, understanding, and the realization that ups and downs are part of life, “Alexander” fits the bill as a very amusing way to spend an all-ages Saturday afternoon with your family. “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” receives 4+ out of 5 stars and is rated “PG” for some mild “rude humor including some reckless behavior and language.”
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