Review: ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 1 December 2014


3 stars
ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY offers nothing new, but enjoyable enough as a family entertainment.

What a long title for a Disney family comedy that also made quite an amusing tongue twister if you say ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY as fast as you can. That aside, this title is first appeared as an award-winning children's book of the same name by Judith Viorst back in 1972 and subsequently being adapted in different medium including a 1990 animated TV movie. This 2014 version finally arrived with a feature-length adaptation for the first time ever.


In this big screen adaptation, Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) is going to celebrate his 12th birthday tomorrow. However, he's been suffering a series of misfortunes the moment he woke up in the morning. First, he got gum stuck in his hair. Then, he accidentally tripped on his skateboard. At school, he ruined his crush Becky Gibson's (Sidney Fullmer) lab notes and almost set the science lab on fire. Worst still, everyone in his school is planning to attend popular kid Philip's (Lincoln Melcher) big birthday bash instead. His busy parents (Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner) as well as his older siblings, Anthony (Dylan Minnette) and Emily (Kerris Dorsey) are too preoccupied with their own problems and hardly pay attention to him. As the midnight finally approaching, Alexander makes a wish that his family members will suffer the same fate as he does.


Miguel Arteta's direction is brisk, yet delightful enough that made the 81-minute running time a breeze to sit through with plenty of entertaining sense of humours and zany moments.

Of course, much of the movie's fun owes to the playful cast: Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner are decent enough with their comic performances, and so does Dylan Minnette and Kerris Dorsey. Bella Thorne is perfectly cast as Anthony's stuck-up girlfriend, Celia, while Jennifer Coolidge delivers a worthwhile cameo appearance as the strict DMV instructor who oversees Anthony's driving test on the road. But Ed Oxenbould, who appears mostly on short films and TV series, gives a breakout role with his charming and genuinely affecting performance as Alexander.


The hilarious moment where Ms. Suggs (Jennifer Coolidge) lures Anthony to answer his cell phone, even though Anthony knows it's wrong to do so during a driving test.

Prior to the main plot that related to the title, the movie has trouble find a proper footing. Some of the jokes are too clichéd or tries too hard to be funny, while there is a nagging feeling where director Miguel Arteta could have pushed the movie's promising setup further instead of playing it safe with the same old "been there, done that" kind of Disney formula.


ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY won't win anything for originality and although this movie is as formulaic as it goes, it contains enough sweet-natured charm to make this an ideal, yet crowd-pleasing family entertainment for both kids and adults alike.

This review is written courtesy from Walt Disney Malaysia press screening *  

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