Dave’s 3-Word Review:
What a mouthful.
Hey adults, remember when you were kids? There was this super-thin children’s book, can you recall? It was called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – and if you remember it like I do, you’ll remember that it was silly, but obvious with the point it was trying to make. If I remember correctly, it was something like…bad days aren’t the end of the world, and to be perfectly honest, they portrayed the same message through the means of a film adaptation…even if it wasn’t done exactly the way you may have envisioned it…
So Alexander has had a bit of bad luck lately. Waking up with gum stuck in his hair is just the start of it, the kid seems to have an unreasonable amount of bad luck that follows him all of the time – while the rest of his family seem to have it made for them. Seeing how this isn’t fair, he wished the rest of his family would walk around in his shoes and experience bad luck first hand – and you know what happens next? Turns out Alexander’s day is fine, but his whole family’s plans start going down the toilet.
Like I mentioned above, the message was about learning that bad days aren’t everything, and it is – but it is also about the things you focus on which helps fuel a fire and make the day worse. It’s a kids movie after all. The one thing that surprised me is how 90% of the movie actually had Alexander having a reasonably good day while his family was having the bad day…which is very different than the book. But wait, the title of the book only references a character named Alex and a bad day…it didn’t HAVE to be HIS bad day, right?
Much to my surprise, the absence of Alexander’s bad day worked really well for the movie. I honestly didn’t know what to think when I heard his family would be the ones experiencing the horrible day – but their collective experiences all around was a lot of fun and I’m not even ashamed to admit that I actually laughed out loud a couple of times…and no, it wasn’t to make fun of the film. These characters are fresh and their performances are lead by some really talented people – especially Steve Carell. You know it’s still a kid’s/family film, but that fact doesn’t dissuade you from enjoying certain parts of the movie regardless.
Now, we have seen our fair share of “everything goes wrong” movies. I can personally remember them all the way back to Beethoven or even Funny Farm and Money Pit. There will never be a shortage of these hijnks films – and I’m glad they can still come up with material that can be considered funny – the secret is probably casting. The casting in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Yatta Yatta Day isn’t that bad, believe it or not. Each character played a very important role, and they were all in the middle of trying to accomplish something. A job, an interview, a driving test, a play, a party…and each of these stories is pretty thought out.
The trailers had this movie looking bad, and it’s not. As far as family movies go, this is actually pretty fun and had me laughing more times than I really thought I ever would. It had decent writing material, decent casting, and a short runtime as to not feel dragged out. It’s actually not that bad.
I don’t know, I mean family movies can only be so good until they hit a limit on how entertaining they ultimately are. It’s a kids movie, so nothing blew me away – it’s quite simply okay. Your best bet is to watch it with family (especially if you have kids).