Become a Premium Member | Only $2 a month

► You're making sure we survive
► Exclusive previews
► No more ads


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day [2014] PG] - 3.4.3



Although our site is very popular, the current economic climate has reduced our revenues just when we need extra security to prevent attacks from hackers who don't like what we do. If you think what we do is worthwhile, please donate or become a member.


Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

 [more »]

Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


» Official Site
» IMDb Listing

A preteen boy (Ed Oxenbould) struggles through many bad days, including a big one that goes downhill after gum is stuck in his hair overnight. He looks to his family for encouragement, but they ignore his tribulations, recite aphorisms and smile, and he wishes they could feel his anguish; soon, his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all have a horribly bad day. Also with Bella Thorne, Jennifer Coolidge, Dick Van Dyke, and Megan Mullally. Directed by Miguel Arteta. [1:21]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - At a preteen party, three heavily muscled men wearing sleeveless shirts, jeans and boots dance as the entertainment act and begin to remove their shirts in a strip tease; a father shouts, "No! PG-13! Please!" while preteen girls stare with open mouth at the dancers and the lead dancer gives the thumbs up to the father and the dancers refrain from sexy dancing. Some teen girls wear tops with thin straps that reveal a little cleavage. A teen girl wears different shorts in three scenes that bare most of her legs to the thigh. An exercise class includes women wearing stretchy, snug tights and sleeveless tops that reveal body curves, as well as a little cleavage. At a preteen boy's mother's office, we see a slide on a screen depicting him as a baby, sitting on a potty chair. An 11-year-old boy walks to his room wearing only a long towel from waist to floor and we see his bare chest. We see a cell phone picture of a preteen boy with red chickenpox covering his face and bare shoulders, arms, chest and abdomen (we see the navel).
 A husband and his wife hold hands at a play and later kiss briefly.
 A preteen boy invites a preteen girl several times to his birthday party and she refuses, but finally does attend. A preteen boy looks at a preteen girl, does not look where he is going, and falls over a sprinkler head in his yard. At night in a bedroom a teen boy talks to a girl on a cell phone, mentioning "that cute little butt of yours" and "I love you" (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A mother walks into the bathroom where her teen son stands nude (we see only his shoulders and head); they both scream and she slams the door as she rushes out and in the family van later, she says that she has seen every penis in the car (presumably, of her two sons and husband). A teen boy says, "I'm dating the hottest girl in school" and his preteen brother later tells his family that the teen waited a whole year to make out with a girl in the back of the family van.
 A preteen boy's facial image is taken on a cell phone and appears atop clothed women models' bodies (blouse, short-shorts and hose, a short dress showing bared legs to the lower thighs and some cleavage) and is texted to other students' phones; one boy says to the photographed boy, "Nice boobs!"

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A teen boy takes a driver's test with an examiner who tricks him into answering his cell phone while driving, and then shouts, "Put down the mobile device!"; the boy is startled, he loses control of the vehicle, avoids a head-on crash, drives onto a sidewalk and levels several signs, and then screams as he slams into a large sign and stops; another car drives through his open driver's side door and it skids across the pavement to land at the feet of his family (we see the van gouged along one side, has a hanging bumper that sparks on the pavement and a loose muffler that falls off later).
 A middle school science student sets a notebook on fire with a Bunsen burner and the flames spread to his long-sleeved cuffs causing other boys and girls to scream as the teacher shouts and uses a fire extinguisher; the fire spreads to the wall chart and the teacher puts out that fire and shouts at the boy. A man eats at a Japanese restaurant with several younger men who may become his bosses; after drinking alcohol (please see the Substance Use category for more details) the man catches shrimp in his mouth 10 times from the chef who is cooking at the table while dancing giddily at his chair; his long shirtsleeves catch fire up to the middle forearms and he shouts and waves his arms as patrons look on and he puts his arms into the nearby aquarium tank (he is unhurt and no fish appear at all). A teen boy is suspended when he accidentally knocks over and destroys two large trophy cases in the high school's main hallway; we hear loud crashing and the tinkling of broken glass.
 We hear that a father and his children lost their infant in a drug store for 45 minutes and the pharmacist was going to call the cops, but the child was found unharmed. At night in a bedroom a teen boy talks to a girl on a cell phone, mentioning "that cute little butt of yours" and "I love you"; the teen's younger brother thinks he is speaking to him and says to stop that talk, whereupon the teen throws a large rubber ball that hits him (no injury) and shouts "Idiot," followed by the girl hanging up in anger. Two boys in the back seat of a van struggle over a cell phone when one boy snaps the other boy's picture (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A teen boy blows a didgeridoo into the ear of his sleeping younger brother and then throws it down; the younger boy shouts, then gets up and walks into the bathroom.
 After swallowing too much cough syrup (please see the Substance Use category for more details) for a cold that causes her a red nose and cheeks, a teen girl playing Peter Pan for an audience giggles and laughs, swinging on a cable, but banging into walls instead of flying; the scenery crashes down as a boy grabs her and she lands on her feet, unharmed, to throw sparkle-glitter into the audience, the crowd laughs, applauds and cheers and later, she says that she thinks she broke Captain Hook's nose (we see no injury).
 At a celebrity reading at a bookstore, a famous man reads the phrase "Take a dump" six times, referring to defecating in a bed, in a swimming pool, on one's brother's head and other places at home as the audience alternately laughs and gasps loudly, while children cry and wail; the celebrity angrily demands that the "author with the bad hair" be arrested and the author runs and hides in the restroom. A children's book titled "Who's Ready to Jump On the Potty?" has a bad error that recurs several times and the author's boss berates her in half a dozen scenes, especially about a famous man who is to read the book in public.
 Family members argue about a preteen son's run of bad luck, the parents telling him to be more positive. A preteen boy argues with his older brother and sister frequently. A preteen boy's sister tells him that his Vegemite smells bad. A preteen boy sitting alone in a room says, "I'm doomed." A preteen boy says that he thinks he cursed their day, because he wished at midnight with a blown out candle on a cupcake that they would experience his bad luck for a day.
 Oversleeping for important appointments, a mom wakes and shouts at her family to hurry up and get out of the house; she hangs out of the passenger's side window of her van and shouts at a driver to move his car out of the way, then shouts at students and the marching band to get out of the crosswalk faster. A woman borrows a bike and scares people as she rides erratically down the street and on a sidewalk, finally falling off at her destination (she is OK). A man outside a restaurant kicks two trashcans angrily and then each of his family members kicks a trashcan laughingly. At a backyard birthday party, three men dressed as cowboys dance and crack toy whips to entertain middle school boys and girls.
 A family finds a large number of indigenes Australian animals in their backyard that were ordered for a birthday party, with a crocodile walking into the swimming pool, and a kangaroo getting loose and the father chasing it down the street, and diving over a hedge before the animal turns and stares at him, and then kicks him out of the frame with both feet (Dad is unhurt). A family opens their front door from outside, we hear a loud roaring and we see their horrified faces as they slam the door shut. We see a family look horrified as they see a crocodile with its mouth open, and they slam the door of their house shut.
 A baby cries loudly in a dozen scenes and in one scene, his pacifier falls on the kitchen floor, a preteen boys picks it up, accidentally drops it into the garbage disposal and the father grinds it up; the absence of this favorite pacifier makes the baby continually cry.
 A preteen boy in a bathroom tries to remove chewing gum from his hair, but it only stretches; we then see that the gum is gone and when the boy's mother asks him what happened to his hair (it looks uneven, implying cutting). While holding his infant, a father decorates a frosted cake and the baby drags a bare foot through the center of it. A teen boy sits in a cup of coffee in a waiting area (he is unhurt).
 We see the feet and legs of a baby as the child urinates on a bare hallway floor and we see and hear the stream. A man spills the contents of a garbage bag of rolled up dirty diapers down a staircase (we see no feces). A father says that the baby had a diaper trauma at a grocery store. A father cannot find any diapers in the house as his wife shouts to put a diaper on their infant. A preteen boy goes into the bathroom where his older sister stands, and says, "I have to pee" in order to get her to leave the room. A teen boy has a large pimple on his forehead, which his dad says to cover with a Band Aid. A teen girl is shown in bed with used tissues all over her covers and her younger brother looking disgustedly at the scene.
 A teen girl bends over away from the camera in her front yard and vomits loudly, as we see a large amount of green vomit hit the ground. A teen girl in the dressing room of the theater at school vomits green and yellow vomit all over her father's white shirt; he tries to wash it off with wet towels, but it will not come off, leaving feint greenish stains. A man opens a refrigerator and a plastic container of yellowish liquid (resembling vomit) falls off a shelf onto the floor as the man shouts, "What is wrong with this family?" A teen girl says that the family van smells like vomit. A baby eats the felt tip from a non-toxic green ink marker and green ink covers his face, dripping down his shirt (his face is green for the rest of the film).

PROFANITY 3 - 1 mild obscenity, 9 mild scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, name-calling (crazy, dumb, idiot, senior citizen, prom creep, decrepit, dorky, Gossip Girl, Wreck-It Ralph, Willy Wonka, Duchess, Big Man On Campus [sarcastic], Flaming Pirate), stereotypical references to teenagers, middle school kids, parents, senior citizens, snobs, business owners, video game designers, teachers, driving test examiners, exclamations (wow, arghhh, blooaaah, yaaarrrrr, shut-up), 1 religious exclamation (Oh My God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A teen girl with a cold says the school nurse offered her baby aspirin and that she wants drugs, a teen girl swallows several doses of cough syrup in a drug store (despite her father telling her not to do so), a teen girl drinks half a bottle of cough syrup at school and begins to giggle and make funny mouth noises (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and her father tells her that she cannot play around with medicine, a teen girl's mother tells her not to drink a bottle of cough syrup before going on stage if she ever performs on Broadway, and a boy talks about two other boys who are patients of a psychopharmacologist because they have ADHD (prescriptions implied, but we see now drugs). Four men drink cups of Saki at a restaurant and one man chugs a full glass of what looks like beer as the other men clap their hands. We hear that a boy is having an Energy Drink Bar at his birthday party (we do not see it), a mother asks her 13-year-old daughter at breakfast why she is suddenly drinking coffee and the girl says that "I'm not a morning person."

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Conflicts, busy lives, making mistakes, handling challenges, families, positive attitude vs. denial, drug use, determination, friends, snobs and phonies.

MESSAGE - Family will get you through a bad day.

Special Keywords: S3 - V4 - P3 - MPAAPG

Our Ratings Explained

Tell Friends About Our Site

Become a Member

A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

INAPPROPRIATE ADS? We have little control over ads since we belong to ad agencies that serve ads automatically; a standing order should prevent provocative ads, but inappropriate ads do sneak in.
What you can do



Become a member: You can subscribe for as little as a couple of dollars a month and gain access to our premium site, which contains no ads whatsoever. Think about it: You'll be helping support our site and guarantee that we will continue to publish, and you will be able to browse without any commercial interruptions.


Tell all your friends: Please recommend to your friends and acquaintances; you'll be helping them by letting them know how useful our site is, while helping us by increasing our readership. Since we do not advertise, the best and most reliable way to spread the word is by word-of-mouth.


Alert local & national media: Let major media know why you trust our ratings. Call or e-mail a local newspaper, radio station or TV channel and encourage them to do a story about our site. Since we do not have a PR firm working for us, you can be our media ambassadors.

Copyright © 1992- Critics. All rights reserved. "Kids-In-Mind™" and "Movie Ratings That Actually Work™" are Service Marks of Critics. For legal queries please see our Terms of Use; for comments or questions see our contact page.