Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
What is appropriate use of cell phones?
dangers of posting and sharing personal information on-line
enduring frustrating days
girlfriends (or boyfriends) who are very domineering—pretty on the outside, but not on the inside
goodness in the Bible
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Steve Carell … Ben Cooper
Jennifer Garner … Kelly Cooper
Ed Oxenbould … Alexander Cooper
Dylan Minnette … Anthony Cooper
Kerris Dorsey … Emily Cooper
Dick Van Dyke … Himself
Jennifer Coolidge … Ms. Suggs
Elise Vargas … Baby Trevor
Zoey Vargas … Baby Trevor
Sidney Fullmer … Becky Gibson
Bella Thorne … Celia
Megan Mullally … Nina
Mekai Curtis (Mekai Matthew Curtis) … Paul Dumphy
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|Director||Miguel Arteta—“Youth in Revolt” (2009)|
Walt Disney Pictures
21 Laps Entertainment
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|Distributor||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” is based on the book by Judith Voirst. Since I have owned this book for years, I looked forward to the movie, although I wondered if a short children’s book could be made into a full length movie capable of keeping to the storyline.
Alexander Cooper, played by Ed Oxenbould, is almost 12 years old and seems to have very bad days often, while all of his family seems like they have the perfect life. He seems resentful of his family and feels like he doesn’t belong. At 12:01 AM, on his 12th birthday, Alexander wishes that his family could have a day like his usually are, so they can see that life isn’t always wonderful.
The next morning, he wakes up and is having a good day while the rest of his family gets off to a rocky start. His father, Ben Cooper, played by Steve Carell, has to go on a job interview with baby, Trevor. His sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) wakes up with a cold on the day of her acting debut. His mother, Kelly Cooper (Jennifer Garner) wakes up late on the day when her children’s book is to be released and read by Dick Van Dyke. Anthony (Dylan Minnette), his older brother, wakes up with a huge pimple on his forehead and, of course, it is the day of the junior prom.
Overall, this movie is pretty clean by today’s standards, however, there are a few issues that might bother some parents. Alexander’s picture is taken with a cell phone and his face is put on girls’ bodies. One of them is a bikini model and another is one with a thong on (although it is only shown from the front). These pictures go viral, and the whole school sees them. Of course, these issues are ones facing many 12 year olds, and this can lead to an excellent discussion on what is appropriate use of cell phones and the dangers of posting and sharing information on-line.
There is some crude language which includes “nice boobs,” “cute butt,” “butt thong,” “crap day,” “dating the hottest girl,” “penis—(Mom says, “I’ve seen every penis in this car,” “take a dump,” “make out in the back of the van,” several uses of the word “sucks,” and “Daddy wishes he could swear right now.” There are also some uses of “Oh my g*d.”
Ben Cooper goes out to a restaurant and is drinking and doing shots. Emily takes too much cold medicine, acts goofy and then ends up vomiting several times. Kelly opens the door on her oldest son while he is in the bathroom. Trevor, the baby, pees in the kitchen.
At the end of the movie, there is an Australian-themed party for Alexander. Male strippers appear, at least the implication is very strong that that’s who they are, as the men strut into the party with a boombox and ask where they can set up. Before anything happens, mom and dad, yell to them to keep it PG.
There is a scene with Anthony driving and hitting everything in sight, while there is lots of screaming and yelling. The family kicks garbage cans in anger. Anthony also knocks over trophy cases in school. Ben gets kicked by a kangaroo.
The best thing about this movie is that it shows a father who feels a responsibility to care for his family, who puts them first and understands that he is supposed to carry the burden for them. This is so often missing in today’s movies. The other positive message is when Anthony realizes that his beautiful girlfriend is not a very nice person and dumps her.
Face it, we all have good days, and we all have bad days. I often joke that Ecclesiastes paraphrased is “Life stinks and then you die, and sometimes good things happen in between.” A character in the movie says, “If it weren’t for bad days, we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones.” This is very similar to what Ecclesiastes 7:14 says,
“When times are good, be joyful; when times are bad, consider this: God made the one as well as the other, so people won’t seek anything outside of his best…”
My family enjoyed this movie, and I would recommend seeing it with caution. Obviously, Disney has incorporated too much potty humor in this movie, but with parental guidance and discussions afterward, these can be teachable moments.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.