If you’ve had a bad day (or bad week, even) and desperately need something to cheer yourself up, this movie will probably do the trick. With perhaps the longest name for a title this year, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day makes sure your day can’t get any worse.

Ed Oxenbould stars as the titular character Alexander Cooper, an 11-year-old kid having the worst possible day of his life just before he turns 12. He comes from a family of six, and is the second youngest of four children. On the eve of his birthday, every other member of his family receives some form of good news in school or work, except him. He gets bullied in class and has no friends interested to celebrate his birthday.

Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner play Alexander’s parents, Ben and Kelly Cooper. Ben is unemployed and hopes to land a job interview. Kelly is promising in her publishing firm and looks set for a promotion. Alas, what the characters want, they hardly get, and it is even more predictable given the context of the film. Carell pulls off his comedic chop decently throughout, though it feels forced towards the end. Garner, on the other hand, gives a mediocre performance that is worthy of genuine laughs.

The film plays through the eyes of young Alexander. Coming into his teenage years, as with any other modern day teenager, he yearns for attention from his peers, especially his crush. Furthermore it’s his birthday, which heightens the desire to be appreciated. As fate would have it, everything that can go wrong, goes wrong for him.

The plot is simple, really. So simple, in fact, that the trailer probably contains all the spoilers you need. Though predictable, the light-hearted film remains relatively amusing. At a short and succinct 81 minutes, time passes by unnoticeably while you laugh at the silly and creative humour that the filmmakers have come up with.

Directed by Miguel Arteta (he’s behind 2010’s Youth In Revolt), Arteta tackles  teenage/young adult issues like relationships, getting a driver’s licence and, going for prom. That said, this straightforward family comedy should appeal to both teenagers and working adults. For a film about a string of unfortunate events, this flick sure entertains a fair bit.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day opens 4 December 2014.

Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Genre: Comedy, Family
Running time: 81 minutes
Release date: 4 December 2014
Rating: 2.5/5