Story

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day begins when Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) makes a wish on the night before his 12th birthday. He wishes for his family to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day so he can make them understand how he feels when he has a bad day.

The next day, the Cooper family’s plans keep turning into chaos. Alexander’s older brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette), is trying to get his driver’s licence. His sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey), is preparing for the opening night of her school play. Alexander’s mother (Jennifer Garner) has an important day at work, and his father (Steve Carell) has a job interview. But because of Alexander’s wish, the whole family’s plans go awry.

The members of the Cooper family must learn how to appreciate each other and work together to get through this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Themes

Unemployment; family relationships; cyberbullying

Violence

There is no physical violence between people in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. There is some cyberbullying, arguments and accidental harm. A kangaroo punches Alexander’s father, and a crocodile snaps its jaws at the family.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • Anthony crashes a car into a pole. Both Anthony and his driving instructor look very scared and scream a lot.
  • Alexander accidentally burns down his science classroom, and the children scream.
  • Alexander’s father accidentally catches on fire and runs around in a panic before he puts the fire out.
  • During the school play, Emily is dangerously swinging from a wire and crashes into a backdrop. The set then crashes down, almost hitting other children. Emily falls and is caught by her friend, but she breaks her friend’s nose with her fall.

From 5-8
Children in this age group might also be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over 13
Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day has some sexual references. For example:

  • Anthony tells his girlfriend that she has a ‘cute little butt’.
  • Anthony says that he wants to ‘make out’ with his girlfriend in the back of a van.
  • For Alexander’s Australian-themed birthday party, his parents accidentally hire male strippers (thinking they are regular dancers). The strippers begin to dance in their usual style, but the parents yell ‘make it PG’. The dancers quickly turn their act into a fun dance for the kids.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Alexander’s father drinks a beer during his job interview to impress his employers.
  • Emily, who is 13, drinks too much cough syrup and gets drunk.
  • Nudity and sexual activity

    None of concern

    Product placement

    Products displayed or used in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day include:

    • Mac computers and iPhones
    • Gossip Girl (TV show).

    Coarse language

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day includes some coarse language that children might copy.

    Ideas to discuss with your children

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a fun comedy based on the book of the same name.

    This movie is ideal for children over 10 years. There are, however, some scenes that might scare children under five years, as well as coarse language that children might copy, sexual references and substance use. Therefore we recommend parental guidance for children aged 5-10 years.

    These are the main messages from this movie:

    • Terrible days happen to everyone, but they’re better when you’re surrounded by family.
    • Never give up on your dreams.

    Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include having a positive attitude, as well as the confidence to strive for your dreams.

    The scene where someone at Alexander’s school sends a cruel, although supposedly funny, picture of him to everyone at school could also give you the chance to talk about cyberbullying and its consequences.