Movie Review: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


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Late last week, my family and I had the opportunity to see an early screening of this film. I was concerned that it may be a bit  young for my family since I have a teenager, a tween and a ten year old, but that didn’t end up being a problem at all. There was literally something for everyone in this movie and when we got into the car, it was all we could talk about.

Let me back up and give you a quick synopsis for those who haven’t read the book.  Alexander’s birthday is coming. He’s about to turn twelve and he hates that everyone in his family seems to have awesome days but his days are always tough. The first few minutes shows us a little bit about what Alexander’s typical day is like. (Hey, being a Middle Schooler isn’t easy – no matter what!) His family tries to tell him that all will be well and it will get better, but it’s to no avail. At midnight on his special day, Alex makes a birthday wish that the rest of his family would understand what it’s like to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And the hilarity ensues from there.

Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner are fabulous as parents just trying to make things work in the awkward situation of him not having a job for several months and her trying to get ahead in her job. This is something I can identify with as I’ve been there and I’m familiar with the publishing world, so Mom’s crazy day was oh so painfully funny for me to watch.

Both my teen and my tween felt for the teenage boy and girl in this film. They both were talking about how horrible it would be to have that kind of day and how bad they felt for the characters.

My ten year old son found the whole thing funny and said he was glad that we homeschool so he didn’t need to worry about those sorts of very bad days. His very bad days are personal and happen at home!

One thing I loved about this film was that they have a study guide available for famillies. You can find it here: http://www.differentdrummer.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Family-Study-Guide-Smaller.pdf and it helps you talk with your kids about their expectations for good days, bad days, and how to act through the middle of any of them. My favorite part was the reminder that it’s not the end. I’m what my family calls an Obnoxious Optimist. There’s always someone having a worse day than we are and I’m fast to remind them of their blessings and the good things. This drives my family crazy sometimes but it does also remind us that no matter how bad it is, it’s minor in the big picture.

There was only one small misstep in the film and that was Mom’s role. (MINOR SPOILERS HERE!) Throughout the film she was so sorry she was missing big things in the lives of her family and it was obvious that she wanted to be home with her family. It would have been nice if, at the end, there was some comment – even just a throwaway line – about how her schedule could lighten up a bit with her career and she could be home more often.

That was the only thing I missed in  the film. The rest was a fabulous, amazing, not horrible, not terrible, fantastic ride for families and excellent family entertainment for all. If you haven’t seen it, give it a shot. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is in theaters now.