Approved for 12+

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Alexander's day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
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Positive Rating

Dove Review

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” brings to energetic life the book written by Judith Viorst upon which this movie is based. The film features stars Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner as Ben and Kelly Cooper, and young Ed Oxenbould as their son Alexander.

Life is a fast-paced whirlwind for Alexander and his siblings and parents. His brother Anthony is getting ready for his road test and the junior prom with his girlfriend, his sister Emily is preparing for the lead role in her high school musical “Peter Pan,” and baby Trevor gets upset when his bumblebee pacifier is accidentally destroyed in the garbage disposal by Alexander. Alexander’s dad is an unemployed aerospace expert who winds up with an interview for a video game design company but chaotic events lead him to take baby Trevor with him. Alexander is preparing for his 12th birthday party, but another kid at school is having just about every cool thing possible at his party on the same night and Alexander is down to one friend attending his event. He wants a girl he likes, Becky, to attend, but it doesn’t look promising. Alexander’s mom has a chance for promotion at the book publishing company where she works, but when a misprint occurs in a book that Dick Van Dyke is scheduled to read to kids, she is going to need some support.

The movie features lots of laugh-out-loud moments, including a scene in which Dad decides to go all out for Alexander’s birthday party and make it an Australian “Outback” experience. He hires cowboys to perform for Alexander and his friends, not realizing that they are strippers! He stops them before things get out of hand. The scene in which Steve Carell chases a kangaroo must be seen to fully appreciate.

There are a few content issues that we make note of in our content listing, and we therefore are awarding our Dove Family-Approved Seal for ages 12+ to the movie. It is rated PG. The movie contains a terrific theme: hang in there during those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. It will make the really good days even better, and you will appreciate them more. You won’t be able to stifle the laughs when you see this movie!

Dove Rating Details




Road test gone awry results in a few vehicles being hit and the family van being damaged.


Alexander says his older brother wants to pass his road test so he can "make out" with his girlfriend in the family vehicle; the word for male genitalia is used a few times when Mom states in the car she has seen everyone's male organ of her boys and husband; the word "boobs" is used; kissing by the parents.


OMG-3; the word for male genitalia is used a few times by the mother; Crap-1; "butt thong" comment; "cute little butt" comment; "butt crack" comment; Idiot-2; Sucks-1.


Road test gone awry results in a few vehicles being hit and the family van being damaged.


Teen girl with a bad cold takes too much cough syrup and is badly medicated when she tries to perform in a play; drinking including beer.


Cleavage; shirtless boys; boy puts Alexander's head on the image of a swimsuit model; a baby's rear is seen.


Boy accidentally starts fire in class but everyone is all right; man's shirt sleeves are caught on fire in a restaurant but he gets the fire out; girl vomits on dad.

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