Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Starring: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Kerris Dorsey, Dick Van Dyke, Dylan Minnette (Rated PG – 81 min).
Based on a 32 page children’s book first published in 1972, the story has been liberally changed and elaborated upon, however the result is excellent. Beat the crowds of the Christmas movie onslaught, take the whole family to enjoy this bright, rapid Disney treat.
For 12 year old Alexander Cooper (Australia’s own Ed Oxenbould), nothing goes right, he’s also clumsy beyond extremes as bad luck seems to lurk anywhere he goes. During a magical moment on the eve of his birthday, Alexander makes the wish that each family member have an experience of equally bad luck for the day. From sunrise to sunset the pratfalls of the Cooper’s takes hold with everything from Mum (Jennifer Garner) messing up an important work assignment with legendary Dick Van Dyke and Dad (Steve Carell) having to take their baby to a job interview. Thats only scraping the surface of the madness which occurs.
A recital of Peter Pan is like nothing the lost boys have ever seen. In between the chaos, Alexander is having a carefree day unlike the usual mishaps that generally follow him. Ed Oxenbould does an impressive job in the lead and although he plays an American kid here, Alexander has a love of Australia, part of an ongoing theme including having Vegemite for breakfast and a runaway Kangaroo up the suburban streets.
Bella Thorne looks to be a rising young star playing Celia the snobbish, arrogant would-be prom queen to striking effect, while Kerris Dorsey is likable as Emily Cooper. Her Peter Pan moments were quite amusing. Listen carefully when Mary Poppins veteran Dick Van Dyke appears, his mix of words is another funny scene capitalising on embarrassing situations.
Like most family friendly movies, it concludes with a feel-good finale that Disney has perfected over the years.
Shane A. Bassett