Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: Directed by Miguel Arteta

Alexander_and_the_Terrible_Horrible_Good_Very_Bad_Day_1Despite the lengthy title, Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is slight, underdeveloped, and underwhelming, a feature that is working (too) hard to achieve the status of a family classics.

The tale, directed by Miguel Arteta, follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life.

How good a day can be if it begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one misadventure, if not downright calamity, after another.

But when Alexander tells his seemingly upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy.

Could it be that bad things only happen to him?

Alexander soon learns that he’s not alone, when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all go through their own terrible, horrible, no good, routines. Indeed, everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

As a director, Arteta has always been good with generating humor out of situations of social awkwardness and discomfort, but the text is so selnder and repetitive that there is not much he can do. The comedy depends too much on gender-related jokes, such as emasculation, and embarrassing moments that are not always funny to behold.

Some rude humor and reckless behavior keeps the screen busy, but not for the duration of 80 minutes.