Loosely based on the popular children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, brings lots of laughs Steve Carell-style and is a fun family film. However, with all children’s books turned major motions pictures (think Shrek, Polar Express, Where the Wild Things Are), the originality of the book must be expanded to make a full length film. The story is very much expanded and many, many plot developments were added.
I must admit I was not looking forward to watching this movie, but was cracking up within minutes and loved the film. This is simply a fun movie to watch with the family, and my family laughed from the opening minutes until after the end credits rolled.
In the opening minutes, the audience meets Cooper family – mom, dad, and four kids that range in age from teenager to baby. They are a busy family, complete with mini-van and suburb house. They are relatively happy and each family member is getting what he or she wants except for Alexander. Alexander, it seems, is cursed to have very bad days. Even on his birthday.
In the early hours of Alexander’s birthday, he makes a wish to have a perfect day and for his family to feel what it is like to be him. The curse is reserved, and the rest of his family (including the baby) have a very horrible day. The comedy gets into full amped up gear as Ben goes to a job interview (Carell); mom Kelly (Jennifer Garner) has a horrible day at work and is about to be fired; teenage son Anthony (Dylan Minette) breaks up with his girlfriend right before prom as well as fails his driver’s test; and middle daughter Emily (Kerris Dorsey) comes down with a cold right before the her big play performance as Peter Pan in Peter Pan. The poor baby loses his beloved bumble bee pacifier and spends half the movie with a green face thanks to a tasty marker.
With Carell at the helm, the laughs keep coming – from the near totaling of their mini-van during Anthony’s failure of his driver’s test to Emily drinking way too much cough syrup before going on stage as Peter Pan. Garner is a wonderful foil to Carell’s goofiness, and shows off her own natural ability at comedy. The film also benefits from a brilliant cameo by the legendary Dick Van Dyke, who gives the film its funniest scene and shows he is still comedy gold.
It was also refreshing to see a family film where the family come together to make it through the day instead of turning on each other. No matter what the situation, the parents and kids work together to make it work. They support each other without question.
The film is loaded with special features which show how the story made it to the screen and some hijinks that happened behind the scenes.
All in all, I was thoroughly entertained and laughed constantly. I was pleasantly surprised with the film, and recommend it for anyone looking for a film they can enjoy with the whole family.