Thursday, February 12, 2015

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Disney’s heartwarming comedy will have your entire family laughing out loud. Based on the best-selling book, it follows the exploits of Alexander as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life and wonders if bad things only happen to him. But he discovers he’s not alone when his dad (Steve Carell), mom (Jennifer Garner) and family live through their own terrible – and hilarious – day. It will tickle everyone’s funny bone, and warm their hearts as they discover how even on rotten days, families can grow closer.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) is having a very bad day.  When he wakes up with gum in his hair, you’d think the day would have to improve as it went on.  Not only does the day get worse, but Alexander shares his horrible luck with his family.  His father Ben (Steve Carell) has been out of work and is a stay at home dad.  Mom Kelly (Jennifer Garner) works very hard and is up for a promotion, assuming her current assignment at work goes well. 
His brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette) is preparing for prom as sister Emily is about to star in a big play at school.  Their baby brother is the only member of the family who isn’t in the middle of a very important day when everything goes wrong.  For Alexander the big problem is that another, more popular boy has planned a competing birthday party and even his best friend doesn’t want to come. 
The entire family will see their day go from bad to worse but in the end they come together and realize what’s important.  Is every critical problem the family will face contrived? Sure.  Does it matter…I don’t think so.  It will matter even less to the children in your family. They will laugh as the baby in the family eats a permanent marker, as Anthony destroys the family car during his driving test and Ben sets himself on fire during a job interview.  The kids will laugh and the parents shouldn’t spend too much time deconstructing the story. The parents will instead connect with Ben’s resentment having to stay home and Kelly’s heartbreak when she misses her son’s first word.
This is definitely a fun family film that you can enjoy with your family.  The actors all bring a lot of heart to their roles.  For the elementary/middle school crowds, they will identify with Alexander and imagine their own epic birthday parties.  It’s not the type of film kids or adults have to think much about (nothing about it is subtle) – just sit back and enjoy.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 1080p AVC encoded Blu-ray provides a nice, clean picture.  Most of the film is well lit and bright. Skintones are accurate and even, while the viewer enjoys good detail and appropriate black levels.  Nothing major will distract from an excellent viewing experience.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is well balanced and supports a comedy well.  There aren’t many sound effects to take notice of but nothing worth complaining about either.  Dialogue is even and intelligible throughout the film in this well rounded audio presentation.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray contains some good features that are a bit too short for my taste.  I do appreciate that it’s not just sing alongs and child friendly features.
  • Alexander in Real Life – Author Judith Viorst and her son Alex (now an adult) discuss the book and the film.
  • Snappy Crocs and Punchy Roos – Cast and crew look at the Australian themed party.
  • Wallkabout: A Video Diary – Actor Ed Oxenbould’s video diary featuring interviews with his co-stars and other on set moments.
  • Bloopers – Four minutes of outtakes.
  • Music Video – “Hurricane” video
Summary 3 out of 5 stars_
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day delivers as a fun family film. It isn’t subtle and it isn’t terribly plausible but it is entertaining. It’s amazingly easy to see Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell as a couple, a match I wouldn’t picture working on screen. The Blu-ray offers better than average audio and video quality, but is a bit light on the supplemental features. If you or your kids were a fan of the book, the film probably hits the mark even more.

Order your copy today! 


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