Director: Miguel Arteta
Writer: Rob Lieber
Cast: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Dylan Minnette, Bella Thorne, Donald Glover, Megan Mullally
Studio: Walt Disney

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” opens on a young kid hating that his family has a life outside of him. But, it gives us a brief moment where we see the aftermath of the family having a shared terrible day. Diffusion of character responsibility is such a terrible part of literary adaptations. If everybody has to put up with crap, then Alexander loses his importance. But, this is a film that wants to be cooler than the sum of its parts.

The push in turning a short story into a feature length film is painful at times. By bringing in the family and giving the parents substantial roles, Alexander’s main quest is diminished. Especially when you get the sitcom cliche about everyone going to Hell to make sure that Alexander has a great birthday. There are wacky animals, a cute baby and tons of stupid set-ups that never manage to add up to something strong. I spend most of my time scratching my head trying to process what was going down.

While I appreciate the film, I can’t say that it’s good. The cast is superb, but everyone feels like they’re pushed into the constraints of a young kid’s world. The self obsession around the kid with the immature creative choices leaves me wondering how badly Disney screwed with this movie. Miguel Arteta is an amazing director, but this is annoying. If you have any appreciation for the original story, then you might still be able to appreciate the film as a distraction for your young tykes, but that’s all we get with this film. Whatever happened to making kid literature into something that’s entertaining? Maybe, I’m just getting old.


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