Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a 2014 fantasy-comedy film based on the book by the same name by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz. It stars Ed Oxenbould as Alexander Cooper, Steve Carell as his father, Ben, and Jennifer Garner as his mother, Kelly. It was released on October 10, 2014.


The film follows the exploits of Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould), an ordinary 11-year-old boy, and his "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." He is left out by his family; his mother, Kelly (Jennifer Garner), his father, Ben (Steve Carell), his older brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette), his older sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey), and his baby brother, Trevor (Elise/Zoey Vargas), living in Los Angeles, California.

Anthony is trying to earn his driver's license so he can drive his bitter girlfriend, Celia Rodriguez, to the prom; Emily is rehearsing for the title role in her school play; Kelly is working for a publication company that is publishing a new children's book which will promote her to vice president; and Ben, who has been unemployed for seven months, has landed a job interview as a game designer for a video game company.

That same morning, Alexander attends school where he experiences another series of mishaps, such as accidentally setting his crush Becky Gibson's (Sidney Fullmer) notebook on fire as well as finding out that his friends, including her, and even his best friend, Paul, will all be attending Phillip Parker's (Lincoln Melcher) birthday party instead of his own, due to Phillip's expensive party entertainment and popularity. That night, he makes himself a birthday sundae and wishes that everyone in his family would experience what he is going through.

The next morning, Alexander wakes up to find his family in disarray and chaos erupts; Ben and Kelly have overslept, Emily has a cold, and Anthony has found out that Celia broke up with him. The battery in Kelly's car is dead, and Ben has to take Trevor with him to the interview after dropping Kelly off at work. At school, Paul gives Alexander good news: Phillip's birthday party was canceled, as he has the chicken pox, so the kids (including Becky and Paul) that were originally going to attend it will attend Alexander's instead, much to his delight. He calls Ben, and asks him to plan a party for him. Kelly is informed of an embarrassing typo in the book they are publicizing ("dump" instead of "jump") and needs to stop Dick Van Dyke from reading it at a public reading later. Ben takes Trevor to the interview and meets Greg (Donald Glover) who seems impressed at his credentials, although they decide to hold another meeting after Trevor ingests green ink from a non-toxic highlighter. Meanwhile, at school, Anthony finds out that Celia has gotten back together with him. Feeling excited about this, he jumps up and hits a banner, not knowing that it's connected to two trophy cases, which fall and smash. Because of this, he is suspended.

Kelly manages to arrive at the reading, but she is too late in trying to warn Dick about the book's typo. He reads it with that, humiliating himself, scaring the kids, and almost getting Kelly arrested. Meanwhile, Ben purchases cough syrup for Emily and takes Anthony to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where his driving examiner, Ms. Suggs, intentionally distracts him by convincing him to answer his cell phone when Celia calls, causing him to destroy several parking meters, damage the family minivan, and ultimately fail his driving test. As the Coopers argue, Alexander admits his birthday wish to them and apologizes for making them suffer a horrible day. Ben reminds him that it is not ruined because it is not over yet, and they try to stay positive as it continues.

After getting Anthony a teal suit at a shop, the Coopers go to Emily's play, which is inadvertently sabotaged by her impaired behavior because of her getting excessively drunk after overdosing on the cough syrup. Afterward, the game design firm calls Ben and asks him to meet them at Nagamaki, a Japanese hibachi restaurant, for another meeting. The Coopers, joined by Celia, go there in their badly damaged minivan, where Ben accidentally sets his shirt on fire at the grill, embarrassing him to the employers. His family consoles him, admitting that they will overcome whatever else the day has in store for them. Alexander states, "You just got to have the bad days so you can love the good days even more", and Anthony suddenly decides not to go to the prom with Celia, stating that his family is more important, and they break up completely.

The Coopers return home and discover that Ben had hired a rental animal service to recreate an Australian petting zoo for Alexander's birthday party. A crocodile and kangaroo, however, have escaped from their cages. They then decide to pitch in to try and salvage the day by helping to host it. Ben and Kelly receive good news: he got hired for the game design job, and she has been informed that the reading went viral and has created publicity for the book. Reunited, Ben brings out the cake, with Alexander wishing for more days like the one they shared together.



In 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox had plans to make a live action film adaptation of the book. Written by Lisa Cholodenko and Rob Lieber, it was set to be directed by Cholodenko, and produced by Shawn Levy with Dan Levine for Levy's 21 Laps, and Lisa Henson with Jason Lust for The Jim Henson Company. Steve Carell joined in April 2012, to star as Ben. In October 2012, Walt Disney Pictures picked up the project, reportedly due to Fox being "uncomfortable with the budget". In February 2013, Deadline reported that Cholodenko left the project, and a month later, that Miguel Arteta was in talks with Disney to replace her. In April 2013, Jennifer Garner was in talks to play Kelly. In June 2013, Walt Disney Studios set the release date for October 10, 2014, and confirmed that Carell and Garner would play Alexander's parents. In the same month, Disney casted Ed Oxenbould as Alexander. In July 2013, Shake It Up star Bella Thorne was cast as Celia Rodriguez, Anthony's girlfriend. Joel Johnstone, Megan Mullally, and Jennifer Coolidge joined the cast a month later.

Principal photography and production began in August 2013. The film was entirely shot in the Los Angeles area, including the cities of Pasadena and Arcadia, the San Fernando Valley, and Melody Ranch in Newhall.

The film has several stock sound effects from past Disney films.


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