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article imageReview: Alexander’s ‘Very Bad Day’ makes for a good movie Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 9, 2014 in Entertainment
‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ is more succinct than its title suggests, as well as an excellent source of family-friendly entertainment.
Everyone’s had a day when nothing seems to go their way. The dog makes a mess in the house when you're already late. You miss the bus. You spill your coffee. You trip in front of your crush. The possibilities are endless and you're sure they're all going to happen that day. The situation is only made worse when you're surrounded by people who always seem to have it together. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is the result of one boy's desire to be understood.
The day before his birthday, Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) has the worst possible day. Events include a fire and discovering not even his best friend is coming to his party because one of the cool kids is throwing a better one the same day. His family's lives seem perfect in comparison and he only wishes they could understand the pain of his current existence. The next day his wish is granted as each of their biggest moments implode in spectacular fashion. Weeks of rehearsal are jeopardized, a promotion is all but lost and inadvertent but excessive property damage are just some of the disasters to affect his siblings and parents.
This is a goofy comedy geared specifically towards children, but not so silly that accompanying adults can't enjoy it — or even identify with aspects of it — too. Ben (Steve Carell) is unemployed so he's taken on the full-time caregiver role in the interim, which includes mommy and baby yoga. It's here both daddy and son are introduced to the word "fommy" (“father + mommy”). In the meantime Kelly's (Jennifer Garner) career is riding on the success of a children's book about potty training, which unfortunately has an easily transposed title. In addition, the drama affecting the lives of their two teenage kids, Anthony (Dylan Minnette) and Emily (Kerris Dorsey), couldn't be more critical from their point of view.
The hits keep coming for the Cooper family in  Alexander and the Terrible  Horrible  No Good  Very B...
The hits keep coming for the Cooper family in 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’
Disney Pictures
The camera takes turns following each member of the family as they confront their worst days. Each time the focus returns to them, a new layer of bad is being piled on in spite of their best efforts to contain it. To keep things light, most of the complications are of their own design with no one to blame but themselves. And even though Alexander in a sense wished for this awful day to happen, he doesn't take pleasure in his family's misery.
The script directs the majority of the amusement, but it's Carell who brings an inherent humor to his character. Most of the other laughs are circumstantial, while he delivers a physical style of comedy that is always good for a giggle. The dynamic between the actors works well, even when it gets really sappy in the end as they all pull together to support one another and ensure Alexander still has a birthday that will be remembered for more than its astonishing awfulness. This results in one of the coolest parties — if you’re a fan of cute animals and handsome men (you have to see it to appreciate it fully).
Director: Miguel Arteta
Starring: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould
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