Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Fun family comedy adapted from the kids' book featuring Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell
Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? 11-year-old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) seems to have more than his fair share. And when his latest day from hell is largely ignored by his family, Alexander makes a midnight birthday wish for the rest of the Coopers to experience a day as bad as his, just so they'll know what it's like.
And so the Cooper clan each end up enduring the mother of all bad days: unemployed dad Ben (Steve Carell) has to take baby Trevor to an important job interview; over-worked mum Kelly (Jennifer Garner) has a career-threatening disaster involving a celebrity book-reading; the driving test of older brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette) doesn't go exactly to plan; and older sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) gets a hideous head-cold on the day of her performance in the school play. Meanwhile, Alexander is horrified at every fresh catastrophe because he thinks his wish is to blame.
Loosely based on Judith Viorst's much-loved 1972 children's book, which only detailed Alexander's initial bad day, the film gets a lot of comic mileage out of its inventive second act, with director Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck) delivering a handful of genuinely hilarious set-pieces. Indeed, Arteta proves an inspired choice, his taste for more adult comedy adds a pleasing edge to what could otherwise have been standard, super-saccharine Disney fare.
In addition, he draws delightfully witty performances from his entire cast, particularly Oxenbould, who makes a likeable lead, and Garner, who relishes the chance to play up her goofy side. Moreover, the script pays genuine attention to its characters, making the Coopers seem like a believable family without resorting to amped-up caricature. This is a highly entertaining family comedy, with the commendably short runtime ensuring it doesn't wear out its welcome.
Scottish release from Fri 10 Oct, released UK-wide Fri 24 Oct.