|Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day|
|Directed by||Miguel Arteta|
|Written by||Rob Lieber|
|Based on||Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day|
by Judith Viorst
|Edited by||Pamela Martin|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
Walt Disney Pictures
21 Laps Entertainment
The Jim Henson Company (logo uncredited)
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios|
|Box office||$100.6 million|
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a 2014 American 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. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was a success at the box office, grossing $100.6 million worldwide against a $28 million budget. It is one of the only films produced by The Jim Henson Company to not feature any puppets.
Living in suburban Los Angeles, Alexander Cooper often feels left out by his family: baby brother Trevor; elder siblings Anthony and Emily; and their parents, Kelly and Ben.
Anthony is trying to earn his driver's license so he can drive his demanding and sharp-tongued girlfriend, Celia Ramirez, 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: accidentally setting fire to his crush Becky Gibson's notebook; his classmate Elliot sends a humiliating photoshopped image of him to the whole school; and he finds out that his friends – including Becky, and even his best friend Paul – will all be attending Philip Parker's 12th birthday party, instead of Alexander's the next day, due to Philip's expensive party entertainment and popularity. When he tries to tell his family about his bad day however, nobody is very sympathetic due to being focused on the good things happening to them. That night, Alexander puts a candle on a homemade birthday sundae, wishing 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 him and Alexander the night before. Plus, Anthony wakes up to find a giant zit on his forehead. Kelly's car is dead, due to Emily's having left the light on the previous 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 tells his father about Philip and that Elliot had gotten busted for texting the school the photos of Alexander. He then excitedly asks his father Ben 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, 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. He jumps up in excitement but accidentally hits a banner which is attached to two trophy cases, causing them to fall over and break, leading to him getting 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 Emily en route to the DMV; 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 family bemoans their collective misfortunes, Alexander cuts in and admits his birthday wish to them. He apologizes for making everyone suffer the day they've had. Ben disagrees since the day is not ruined, because it isn't over yet. Right then and there, the whole family resolves to stay as positive as they can.
All of Alexander's friends turn up for his birthday, including Becky. Emily ruined the play due to the side effects of having too much cough syrup, but improvises anyway. Anthony decides to ditch prom and breaks up with Celia after she carelessly insults his family learning that despite her beauty and popularity, she is shallow and selfish. While Ben and Kelly both get phone calls, Ben learned he got the job and Kelly is told that Dick Van Dyke's reading of the book went viral, and that the book became a bestseller. Ben and Kelly look outside and see that their kids are enjoying themselves. They bring out a cake for Alexander, and he makes a wish that there be more days like this one saying that for a pretty bad day, this one turned out to be the best day ever.
In 2011, 20th Century Fox initially planned to make a live-action film adaptation of the book. 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. In October 2012, the project was picked up by Walt Disney Pictures after Fox was reportedly "uncomfortable with the budget." By February 2013, Cholodenko had left the project, and a month later, it was reported that Miguel Arteta was in talks with Disney to replace Cholodenko.
In April 2013, Jennifer Garner was in talks to play Alexander's mother. In June 2013, Disney set the release date for October 10, 2014, and confirmed that Carell and Garner were cast as Alexander's parents. The same month, Disney announced the casting of Ed Oxenbould as Alexander. In July 2013, Bella Thorne was cast in the film as Alexander's older brother's girlfriend. Joel Johnstone, Megan Mullally, and Jennifer Coolidge joined the cast a month later.
Principal photography began on August 19, 2013. 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. Filming lasted through October 2013.
The film premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on October 6, 2014.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray on January 27, 2015. The film debuted at the top of the home video chart in its first week.
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. 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. In its second weekend, the film dropped to number four, grossing an additional $11.4 million. In its third weekend, the film dropped to number seven, grossing $7.1 million. In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number eight, grossing $6.5 million.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 62%, based on 121 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. 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." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 54 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
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." 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." 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." 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."
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." 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." 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." 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."
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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times called the film "Not so terribly horrible. Not so terribly terrific either." 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." 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." 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."
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." 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." 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." 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."
On April 1, 2014, Christophe Beck was hired to score the film. 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.
|2.||"Best Worst Day Ever"||Kerris and Justine Dorsey||3:35|
|3.||"We Are the Ones (Own the World)"||Charles William||3:08|
|4.||"Surf Surf Don't Drown"||The Narwhals||3:27|
|5.||"Perfect World"||IDK and The Whatevs||3:06|
|6.||"Suite from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"||Christophe Beck||3:20|
In December 2020, Disney hired writer Matt Lopez to pen a reboot of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for Disney+. The new version will follow a similar plot, but will instead focus on a "multigenerational Latino family". 21 Laps Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company are also set to return. In October 2022, Marvin Lemus signed on to direct while Eva Longoria and George Lopez were cast as Alexander's mother and grandfather. The new film features the family going on a road trip together.