Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (film)

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMiguel Arteta
Produced byShawn Levy
Dan Levine
Lisa Henson
Screenplay byRob Lieber[1]
Based onAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst
StarringSteve Carell
Jennifer Garner
Ed Oxenbould
Dylan Minnette
Kerris Dorsey
Bella Thorne
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyTerry Stacey
Edited byPamela Martin
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • October 6, 2014 (2014-10-06) (El Capitan Theatre)
  • October 10, 2014 (2014-10-10) (United States)
Running time
81 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$28 million[3]
Box office$101.4 million[4]

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a 2014 American family fantasy comedy film directed by Miguel Arteta from a screenplay written by Rob Lieber. The film stars Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould, and is loosely based on Judith Viorst’s 1972 children's book of the same name. Co-produced by Shawn Levy and Lisa Henson for Walt Disney Pictures through their respective production companies, 21 Laps Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company, the film was released in North America on October 10, 2014.[5] The film received mixed reviews from critics but was a success at the box office, grossing $101.4 million worldwide against a $28 million budget.

Plot[edit]

The movie follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) on a "terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day." Living in suburban Los Angeles, Alexander often feels left-out by his family: baby brother Trevor (Elise/Zoey Vargas); elder siblings Anthony (Dylan Minnette) and Emily (Kerris Dorsey); their parents, Kelly (Jennifer Garner) and Ben (Steve Carell).

Anthony is trying to earn his driver's license so he can drive his demanding and sharp-tongued girlfriend, Celia, to the junior prom; Emily is rehearsing for the title role in her Peter Pan school play; Kelly works for a publication company on a new children's book which will get her promoted to vice-president of said company; Ben, who has been unemployed for seven months, has landed an interview for a job as a video game designer.

That morning, Alexander experiences a series of mishaps at school: he accidentally sets fire to his crush Becky Gibson's notebook; he finds out that his friends - including Becky, and even his best friend Paul - will all be attending Philip Parker (Lincoln Melcher)'s birthday party, instead of Alexander's, due to Philip's expensive party entertainment and popularity. That night, Alexander puts a candle on a homemade birthday sundae. He wishes that everyone in his family could relate to what he is going through.

The next morning, Alexander wakes up to find the rest of his family in chaotic disarray: his parents have overslept; Emily has a cold from rehearsing in the car; Celia has broken up with Anthony, due to her overhearing and misinterpreting a conversation between the Cooper brothers last night. Kelly's car is dead, due to Emily's having left the light on last night and draining the battery. Ben has to take Trevor with him to the interview, after dropping Kelly off at work. At school, Alexander learns that Philip's birthday party has been canceled because Philip has chickenpox; Becky and Paul, along with all the other kids who had originally planned to attend Philip's party, will attend Alexander's party instead. Delighted, Alexander asks his father to plan a party for him. Meanwhile, Kelly is informed of an embarrassing typo in the book they are publicizing ("dump" instead of "jump"); she attempts to prevent Dick Van Dyke from reading it at a public event they have scheduled. Ben takes Trevor along to his interview; his prospective boss, Greg (Donald Glover), seems impressed by Ben's credentials. However, they decide to hold another meeting, after Trevor ingests a non-toxic highlighter. Back at school, Anthony patches things up with Celia. In his excitement, however, he accidentally smashes a couple of trophy cases; this gets him suspended.

Kelly arrives at Dick Van Dyke's reading too late to warn him about the book's typo. He then reads the inappropriate material, humiliating himself, shocking the audience, and almost getting Kelly arrested. Meanwhile, Ben purchases cough syrup for his ill daughter en route to the Department of Motor Vehicles; there Anthony's driving examiner, Ms. Suggs, cruelly tricks him into taking his eyes off the road by using sarcasm to persuade him to answer his cell phone. This causes Anthony to destroy several parking meters, damage the family minivan, and miserably fail his driving exam. As the entire Cooper family bemoans their collective lot, Alexander cuts in and admits his birthday wish to them. He apologizes for making everyone suffer the nightmarish day they've had. Ben disagrees: the day is not ruined yet, because it isn't over yet. Right then and there, the whole family resolves to stay as positive as they can.

After renting a tuxedo for Anthony, the Coopers go to Emily's play, of which she makes a spectacular farce with her abnormally rambunctious behavior, after overdosing on extra-strength cough syrup and going out inebriated. The game-design firm calls and invites Ben to Nagamaki, a Japanese hibachi restaurant, for another meeting. The family, joined by Celia, head to the restaurant in their badly-damaged minivan. There Ben accidentally sets his shirt-sleeves on fire at the grill, embarrassing himself in front of the employers. Ben's wife and kids console him, vowing that they will overcome whatever else the day has in store for them. Alexander also points out that "you gotta have bad days, so you can enjoy your good days even more". Inspired by this, Anthony changes his mind about going to the prom with Celia; he states that his family is more important than she has given them credit for. Celia dumps him for good.

The family returns home, where an animal-rental service (hired by Ben) has recreated an Australian petting zoo for Alexander's 12th birthday party. A crocodile and kangaroo, however, have escaped from their pens. The crocodile gets into the entry hall, where he startles the family when they walk in the door. The kangaroo hops out of the yard, and Ben gives chase for several blocks, until he is kicked in the face. Both animals are returned to their pens. The Coopers decide to salvage the day by pitching in to host the party. Greg welcomes Ben as a new game-designer. Kelly discovers that the disastrous celebrity reading went viral, thus creating publicity for the book. As Ben brings out Alexander's birthday cake, Alexander wishes for more days like the one he and his family just shared.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

In 2011, 20th Century Fox initially planned to make a live-action film adaptation of the book.[9] Written by Rob Lieber, the film was set to be directed by Lisa Cholodenko (who also made an earlier draft of the screenplay), and produced by Shawn Levy with Dan Levine for Levy's 21 Laps and Lisa Henson from The Jim Henson Company. Steve Carell joined in April 2012, to star as Ben, Alexander's father.[10] In October 2012, the project was picked up by Walt Disney Pictures[11] after Fox was reportedly "uncomfortable with the budget."[12] By February 2013, Cholodenko had left the project,[13] and a month later, it was reported that Miguel Arteta was in talks with Disney to replace Cholodenko.[14]

In April 2013, Jennifer Garner was in talks to play Alexander's mother.[15] In June 2013, Disney set the release date for October 10, 2014, and confirmed that Carell and Garner were cast as Alexander's parents.[16] The same month, Disney announced the casting of Ed Oxenbould as Alexander.[17] In July 2013, Bella Thorne was cast in the film as Alexander's older brother's girlfriend.[18] Joel Johnstone,[5] Megan Mullally and Jennifer Coolidge joined the cast a month later.[7]

Principal photography began on August 19, 2013.[19][20] The film was entirely shot in the Los Angeles area, including the cities of Pasadena and Arcadia, the San Fernando Valley, and Melody Ranch in Newhall.[7] Filming lasted through October 2013.[21]

Release[edit]

The film premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on October 6, 2014.[22]

Home media[edit]

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray on February 10, 2015.[23] The film debuted at the top of the home video chart in its first week.[24]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day grossed $67 million in North America, and $34.4 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $101.4 million.[4] In North America, the film earned $5.2 million on its opening day and $18.3 million in its opening weekend, placing third behind Gone Girl and Dracula Untold.[25][26][27] In its second weekend, the film dropped to number four, grossing an additional $11.4 million.[28] In its third weekend, the film dropped to number seven, grossing $7.1 million.[29] In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number eight, grossing $6.5 million.[30]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 61%, based on 113 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The website's consensus reads, "Affably pleasant without ever trying to be anything more, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a fine—albeit forgettable—family diversion."[31] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 54 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[32]

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, saying "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day could have been a lot more horrible and no good than it is."[33] Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film three out of four stars, saying "It's Arteta's ease with generating that slight sense of social awkwardness that makes "Alexander" a cut above the usual live-action family comedy."[34] Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a negative review, saying "These characters should have to suffer twice as many embarrassments if they want to earn all those adjectives in the title."[35] Sherilyn Connelly of The Village Voice gave the film a negative review, saying "Everything that can go wrong does, and while it has its moments, Miguel Arteta's comedy relies too much on gender-shaming and emasculation jokes."[36]

Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "Can a series of irritating events make a movie? Yes, but an irritating one: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."[37] John Hartl of The Seattle Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "The movie is so over-the-top that it makes little narrative sense, but it's often successful in its naked pursuit of belly laughs."[38] Katie Rife of The A.V. Club gave the film a B, saying "Alexander is a watchable, affable, pretty good, well-done kids' movie buoyed by a humorous script and talented cast."[39] Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film three out of five stars, saying "It turns out the film is not terrible or horrible or very bad. No good? Not that, either."[40]

Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "It may have the year's longest title, but Alexander's movie is not terrible, horrible, or even half bad. In fact, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a pleasant, entertaining way to spend just under 90 minutes, particularly if accompanied by children."[41] Sandie Angulo Chen of The Washington Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Even the bathroom humor is forgivable when the end result is a crowd-pleasing comedy and a surprisingly entertaining treat for the whole family."[42] Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a Disney film, stretches the book thinner than pizza dough and feels about as nutritious. Still, its intentions are good and so is its cast, particularly Ed Oxenbould, a bright-eyed, expressive 13-year-old making his screen debut as Alexander Cooper."[43] Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Director Miguel Arteta, whose previous work is a mixed bag of television and film, gets almost everything right here, including bringing together a solid cast."[44] A.O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film a negative review, saying "'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is the latest example of a wonderful children’s book turned into a mediocre movie. This kind of thing happens so frequently — exceptions like Where the Wild Things Are and, arguably, Shrek prove the rule upheld by every recent big-screen Dr. Seuss adaptation — that you could almost believe that there is malice involved."[45]

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times called the film "Not so terribly horrible. Not so terribly terrific either."[46] Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film a positive review, saying "What the filmmakers come up with is a modestly likable mix of zany and gently warmhearted, even if they overdo both elements at times."[47] David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two out of four stars, saying "It's a film where you start chuckling as soon as someone says something like, "I just want everything to be perfect tonight."[48] Adam Graham of The Detroit News gave the film a B-, saying "Alexander won't change your day, but it's not terrible, horrible, no good or very bad, either."[49]

Calvin Wilson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave the film a three out of four stars, saying "Arteta keeps the action speeding along while eliciting spot-on performances. Carell is at his discombobulated best, and Garner anchors the proceedings with aplomb."[50] Lindsey Bahr gave the film a B, saying "Alexander is pleasantly devoid of the vulgarity and too-current pop culture references that are the default mode for many contemporary live-action kids' pics, and its earnest celebration of family gives the movie a comforting throwback vibe."[51] Bruce Ingram of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two and half stars out of four, saying "Disney’s bland comedy Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day might have been a little more entertaining if it had been a little more, terrible, horrible, no good and so forth."[52] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News two out of five stars, saying "Just another loud, boy-centric comedy aimed at ’tweens. The movie turns a slight children’s book — in this case, Judith Viorst’s 1972 fave, from which it takes mainly the title — into a charmless mishmash."[53]

Soundtrack[edit]

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Music from the Motion Picture)
EP by
Various artists
ReleasedOctober 7, 2014
GenrePop
LabelWalt Disney

On April 1, 2014, Christophe Beck was hired to score the film.[54] Walt Disney Records released the EP soundtrack album on October 7, 2014. The album features songs from the film, and new tracks by various artists, like The Vamps, Kerris and Justine Dorsey, The Narwhals, Charles William and IDK & The Whatevs.[55]

No.TitleArtistLength
1."Hurricane"The Vamps3:17
2."Best Worst Day Ever"Kerris Dorsey and Justine Dorsey3:35
3."We Are the Ones (Own the World)"Charles William3:08
4."Surf Surf Don't Drown"The Narwhals3:27
5."Perfect World"IDK and The Whatevs3:06
6."Suite from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"Christophe Beck3:20

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Full Cast Revealed for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". ComingSoon.net. August 29, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  2. ^ "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG)". Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. June 30, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  3. ^ Mendelson, Scott (October 11, 2014). "Box Office: 'Dracula Untold' Tops 'Gone Girl' With $8.9M Friday". Forbes. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Ford, Rebecca (August 21, 2013). "'Newsroom' Actor Joins 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Trailer, News, Videos, and Reviews". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Ford, Rebecca (August 29, 2013). "Jennifer Coolidge, Megan Mullally Join 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "The Trailer for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  9. ^ Sneider, Jeff (May 3, 2011). "Cholodenko in talks for Fox's Alexander". Variety. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  10. ^ Flemink, Mike (April 9, 2012). "Steve Carell Circling Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  11. ^ Fleming, Mike (October 20, 2012). "Disney Picks Up Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 27, 2012). "Fox Puts In Turnaround Steve Carell-Starrer Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike (February 22, 2013). "Lisa Cholodenko Exits 'Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike (March 13, 2013). "Miguel Arteta Will Helm Disney's 'Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' With Steve Carell". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  15. ^ Flemink, Mike (April 25, 2013). "Jennifer Garner Joining Steve Carell In 'Alexander And The No Good, Very Bad Day'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
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  18. ^ Kit, Borys (July 31, 2013). "Disney Channel Star Joins 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  19. ^ "On The Set For 8/26/13: Kevin Costner Wraps 'Black and White' As Star & Co-Producer…'The Expendables 3′ Starts". Studiosystemnews.com. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
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  21. ^ "Disney Casting Talent Search..." FeatureFilmCasting.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
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  23. ^ "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  24. ^ "Disney Tops Home Video Sales Charts With 'Alexander,' '101 Dalmatians'". Variety.com. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
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  44. ^ "Alexander's Terrible etc. Day is good family fun: review". thestar.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  45. ^ "'No Good, Very Bad Day,' With Steve Carell". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  46. ^ "Review: 'Alexander's' day isn't so terrible, film isn't so great - LA Times". latimes.com. October 9, 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  47. ^ "Movie review: 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' is a pretty good time - Movies - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  48. ^ "'Alexander and the Terrible, etc.': Add gooey to the list". Philly.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  49. ^ "Review: "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"". October 10, 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  50. ^ "Having a bad day? Just be glad you're not 'Alexander'". stltoday.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
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  53. ^ "'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,' movie review". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  54. ^ "Christophe Beck to Score 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'". filmmusicreporter.com. April 1, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  55. ^ "'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' Soundtrack Details". filmmusicreporter.com. August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.

External links[edit]