HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Day
HTS Overall Score:77
Bad luck is a part of life. We all have had it, and we all dread it coming. Sometimes it’s just a bit harder to take than other days. No one knows this better than Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) as he’s just had one of the worst days of his life. Nothing has gone right and it tomorrow is his birthday. In a fit of frustration he makes a birthday wish (at midnight of course, like every good curse) that his family would know just what it’s like to have a terrible, horrible, no good, bad day for once in their lives. Waking up the next morning and it looks like he may have his wish. His mother, Kelly (Jennifer Garner) and his dad Ben (Steve Carell) are both late for work, his sister wakes up sick on the DAY of her big debut in the school play as Peter Pan, and his brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette), comes to school only to find that his girlfriend wants to break up. Oh boy, and this is JUST within the first hour or so of the day. As the day continues life just gets worse and worse for the Cooper family. Nothing goes right. Ben has to go to a job interview with the baby because Kelly is swamped trying to fix a nightmare of a PR issue at their book publishing firm, and the children can’t get ANYTHING right, as bad goes to just plain worse and then amps up to terrible, horrible and no good.
With the day turning into a total nightmare, Alexander’s birthday party is looking less and less likely, but the good thing about terrible, horrible, no good, bad days, is that they eventually end, and are usually dependent on our outlook on life. AS the day comes to a close the Coopers have to band together and prove that a day is what you make of it, no matter how poorly things have been going. Alexander gets his birthday party, Ben gets his job, Kelly is fine at work and Anthony and Emily both learn that family is more important than the goofy problems of highschool.
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Day” (now simply shortened to “Alexander”, because that is one mouthful of a title) is based off of the children’s book of the same title, and while it has the same theme throughout, it looks like the creators decided to try and make it into some epic adventure. Alexander and his family had problems in the book, but nothing on the epic level that the movie portrays. I personally felt this could have worked better as a 30 minute episode on a TV show, or a short of some type, because the 81 minute films feels like it stretches it’s welcome a bit much in the feature film. The hijinks and bad luck happening can work for a while, but when it keeps going, and going, and going throughout the movie it tends to wear on the viewer. We just saw more bad luck pile on more bad luck and top it off with a nice cherry of bad luck so many times that it felt a bit repetitive.
The movie is cute and fluffy, and really doesn’t strive to be much more than that, so while it overstays its welcome during the last act, “Alexander” manages to be a decently entertaining children’s flick that aims squarely at the middle school demographic. The actors do a solid job, and the idea behind it is quite workable, the only caveat was that the movie ran out of steam too early and had to be forced along with a little repetition. Ex Oxenbould is really good as Alexander and his clumsy self, while Steve and Jennifer coast along a bit, not really stretching themselves in the roles. It’s a goofy kids comedy and aims squarely for the bulls eye in that respect.
Rated PG for rude humor including some reckless behavior and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=38050[/img]“Alexander” is another in a surprisingly long list of comedies that is coming to home video in the scope format of 2.39:1 and looks superb in the process. Shot digitally the movie looks polished and clean, with vibrant colors and lots of visual pop. Everything is exquisitely detailed, from the van at the end of the day with all of its scratches and paint damage, to that horrible Tuxedo that Anthony wears, all the way down to the burns on Ben’s arm after his famous flaming arms trick in the restaurant. Black levels don’t fail to impress and stay inky black the whole time with excellent shadow detail. The movie is only 81 minutes long and with minimal extras that leaves plenty of room on the disc to stave away digital compression artifacting and thus giving us a near flawless presentation. Disney always does great work on their day and date titles, so this should come as no surprise.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=38058[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track for “Alexander” is quite pleasing and follows the standard dialog centric audio guidelines. The majority of the track is rather front heavy, with lots of emphasis on the dialog and I have no complaints with said dialog. Vocals are crisp and clean, well balanced with the rest of the track and show no signs of fading or distortion. The surrounds aren’t used a WHOLE lot, but there is a lot of music from Chistophe Beck that really does light the back channels up quite nicely when called upon. The sounds of Anthony’s driving test failure come from all angles and there’s a decent amount of ambient background noise that give those speakers something to do. LFE is mild, but still quite good, adding some low end to the movie and actually getting a few moments to roar during the car crash and the destruction of the school trophy case. A well done track, it meets all expectations.
• Alexander…In Real Life
• The Australian Outback Yard Party
• Walkabout: A Video Diary
• Blooper Reel
• “Hurricane” Music Video
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Day” is basically light, fluffy kids entertainment as long as you’re not looking for something terribly deep. The performances are solid, the acting decent, and while the movie ran a bit too long for the premise, it was still something that would make a decent rental. The technical presentation on the disc is superb and won’t disappoint there (although I’m pretty sure the target audience isn’t going to notice too horribly much). While it’s not something that I would recommend blind buying, it is worthy of a solid Saturday night family rental.
Starring: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Written by: Rob Lieber
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1, Dutch 5.1 DTS-HR, English Descriptive services DD 2.0
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 81 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 10th 2015
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