The biggest puzzle to me is why an actor with the depth and skill of Steve Carell would be even close to interested in a project this bad. Same question for Jennifer Garner, who plays the wife, Kelly, to Carell’s Ben. Like Carell, she’s an actress whose level of talent is better than this flick.
It is about as well done and conceived as those old after-school specials aired on the alphabet TV channels.
Here’s the gist of the plot. Alexander — played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould — is the classic middle child. He’s goofy, clumsy and everything he touches turns into a disaster. That leads to much chastising from his family. At midnight the night of his birthday, Alexander wishes they, too, would experience life from his perspective.
A predictable and not-so-funny disaster for the entire family follows.
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None of it compares to the disaster of newcomer Rob Lieber’s screenplay and director Miguel Arteta’s storytelling. A horrible newcomer script doesn’t surprise me, but Arteta has done a couple of very interesting films, Cedar Rapids and Youth in Revolt. Why he’d want to jump on this one is a total surprise.
And who is the focus of this film? Kids approaching puberty? Maybe. But most of that group find other flicks like Guardians of the Galaxy much more fun. Little kids? Nope. Too mature and not slapstick funny enough.
Adults? Not on your life.
So you’re stuck with nothing, and with a movie that would be better titled as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad — MOVIE. This is the worst possible excuse for a film aimed at young, impressionable, middle-class child minds.