Based on Judith Viorst's popular 1972 book, director Miguel Arteta delivers a fun film that the whole family will enjoy.
Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould), is a day away from turning 12 years old, but when he wakes up with a big wad of gum in his hair, he knows that it's going to be another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
At school he finds out that the kids that he invited for his party the next day are going to the popular boy's party instead. To make matters worse, the same boy takes a picture of Alexander and superimposes his head onto a lingerie-wearing model and sends it to all of his classmates.
At home, he's looking for a little compassion at the dinner table, but his "perfect" family is self-absorbed and ignore him. Always optimistic dad (Steve Carell) is an unemployed aerospace engineer who stays home with baby brother, mom (Jennifer Garner) is a publishing executive with a book launch, older brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette) is preparing for his prom and a driving test, both scheduled for the next day, and sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) is practicing for the lead in her 8th grade play, Peter Pan .
Feeling sorry for himself, Alexander has a late night snack and wishes that the rest of his family could experience a bad day — just once. When they wake up late the next morning, everything goes very wrong. The tux rental place loses big brother's suit, sister wakes with a doozy of a cold, mom has problems at work and dad has a disastrous job interview. Some of their mishaps are slapstick and pretty funny. Garner and Carell are both very good at physical comedy.
What I liked about the film is that the characters were all upbeat and likable. Mom and dad like their kids and like each other and the kids are smart, good kids. It has a lot of silliness (at times it's a bit gross — vomit and bathroom jokes seem to be a comedy prerequisite). It does have a couple of dangerous scenes with fire and a child drinking too much cough syrup, but its never mean-spirited.
Alexander has a good message, if a family supports each other and sticks together, they can get through anything -- even the worst day ever!