The tagline of the film reads “Get ready for the best worst day of your life.” Which is what you’ll experience in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This Disney comedy film directed by Miguel Arteta, from a screenplay written by Rob Lieber, based on Judith Viorst's 1972 children's book of the same name. Alexander's day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
The novel, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, was published in 1972, is an ALA Notable Children's Book written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz. It has also won a George G. Stone Center Recognition of Merit, a Georgia Children's Book Award, and is a Reading Rainbow book. Viorst followed this book up with two sequels, Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday and Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move.
In 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox had plans to make a live action film adaptation of the book. Written by Lisa Cholodenko and Rob Lieber, it was set to be directed by Cholodenko, and produced by Shawn Levy with Dan Levine for Levy's 21 Laps, and Lisa Henson with Jason Lust for The Jim Henson Company. Steve Carell has joined in April 2012. In October 2012, Walt Disney Pictures picked up the project, reportedly due to Fox being "uncomfortable with the budget." In February 2013, Deadline reported that Cholodenko has left the project, and a month later, that Miguel Arteta was in talks with Disney to replace Cholodenko. In April 2013, Jennifer Garner was in talks to star in the film. In June 2013, The Walt Disney Studios set the release date for October 10, 2014, and confirmed that Carell and Garner will appear in the film. The same month, Disney cast Ed Oxenbould and Bella Thorne. Megan Mullally and Jennifer Coolidge joined the cast a month later.
The film stars Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey, Bella Thorne and Ed Oxenbould, The cast in this film gave great performances despite the ultimately predictable and flawed script. Especially to Carell, Garner and Oxenbould. Oxenbould did a great job of carrying this film forward.
Neither unique nor funny, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is just as cursed as Alexander and his family. However, the film does present one elemental theme that is universal; we have to have our bad days in order to appreciate the good days even more. Affably pleasant without ever trying to be anything more, the film is a fine—albeit forgettable—family diversion.
Simon says Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day receives: