Sorry for the delay, but after a busy weekend of work and mad dashes to the theater I’ve got a second review. We turn our sights on a movie with a little less bite, and more kid friendly bark. My next write up is on Disney’s latest book to movie project entitled Alexander and Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day. Quite a mouthful I know, and from the trailers this movie didn’t promise much for this reviewer. Yet there was still hope that there was a treasure buried beneath the silliness in the trailers. What is my verdict? You know the drill to find out.
Alexander’s adventure has been told in numerous forms, so I was “interested” in what spin Disney could put on the fun little adventure. To my surprise the adventure was fun, as the team decided to pass the bad day courtesy of Alexander unto the family. The troubles they face have been upgraded and modernized to make it more relatable, as proms, driving tests, plays, and jobs are all fair game in this installment. What was great about the tale is seeing the problems streamline, building through the day and bleeding into the other problems. What this lead to? Simple, the characters interact with each other and sort of become a family that one would see in the sitcoms of the 60’s-90’s. Such dynamics are nice to see every once in a while, despite the statistical chances of everything bad happening at the same time. Oh well, a movie like this is also filled with those heartwarming moments and family values, which may give you some goosebumps, or at least make you feel warm and happy.
Of course the story is not what most people are going to be seeing this movie for, or if it is, then you might just be shocked at Disney’s presentation. My guess is that you are going to see this movie in hopes of giving your kids a laugh. Well my friends I can surely say that most of your young ones will enjoy the antics of this film. Alexander’s journey is filled with ridiculous comedy that is juvenile, super silly, and age appropriate for your family. A car crashing through parking meters, a woman biking through traffic, and a father boxing a kangaroo are just some of the wacky things that had kids in my showing cracking up. Unfortunately for me, most of the gags have been shown in the trailers, and if you’ve seen them as much as I have… well there isn’t much that is fresh for the adults. However, there are still a few jokes here and there that might get a giggle from you older adults. Regardless, make sure to tell the little ones to not repeat some of the actions in this movie, just in case they have that urge.
Despite the PG comedy what else do you have to look forward to in this movie? Acting wise it’s fine for this movie, just go in expecting everyone to act incredibly silly and over the top, with the exception of Alexander ironically. Let’s start with Alex (Ed Oxenbould) does a nice job with the rendition of the character. Not so much whiney, Oxenbould brings a lot of the messages home, and despite being preachy, does it without so much emotional drama. I guess being a kid allows him to play this part well, and it was nice to see a rendition that wasn’t as big a brat as the one in the books. Steve Carell on the other hand surprised me with his character in this film. In what can only be described as his Life With Dan role, meets the office. Carell is both serious and silly in this film, teaching life lessons but acting like a big goof at others. It is funny at points, but it lacked the kick from his other works that I thoroughly enjoyed in the past. Jennifer Garner is still as cute as ever, but I wasn’t impressed with her role in this film. She did a good job with the mother role, very protective and guilty of putting career before family. However, I felt she took a major back seat to the rest of the family, and a little cheated in her stories overall. As for the brother (Dylan Minnette), his character is a big jerk, who is a bit of a stupid jock driven by the possibility of being with girls. Minnette did a nice job playing this role, but he was bit, I don’t know, too stupid for my liking. If that is how the character was supposed to be, then he nailed the part. If not, then we have some work to do in the future installments. Finally the sister played by Kerris Dorsey was a brat, but again a little overdramatic at times. Dorsey does a nice job sounding sic, and can really bring out that stereotypical, self-centered teenage girl role. I was hoping for a little more diversity, but again this is a Disney kid’s movie and complex characters usually don’t exist. Overall the family dynamics are good, and the cast works very ell with each other, but again there really is little that is Oscar winning of this acting.
Alexander’s film is definitely the kids film of the weekend. It’s sweet, cute, and very simplistic that everyone can have some fun wit it. Yet it’s a little too biased towards kids for any of the older audience members. If you are really looking for a movie the whole family can watch, which is quite rare these days, then pick this movie. However, I would hold out for Disney’s upcoming animated features in the next few weeks. My scores for this movie are:
Movie Overall: 5.5