Live-action family comedies. Just saying the phrase makes me feel uneasy. To get an idea of the kind of movie I’m talking about, just Google Images search the phrase “family comedy,” and you’ll find titles like Marley and Me, Opposite Day, Dennis Rodman’s The Minis, Daddy Day Care, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Shorts, and Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist. Yes, that one’s the holiday heist. The rest of them are just wintertime capers. Anyway, this is one of those.
But there’s something very… odd about this film. Yes, it is legitimately funny, but in a way that feels sort of… forced. Like they took the concept and then said, “Alright, there needs to be humor in this.” Which is odd because, there’s really not much of a concept to it. The whole plot can be described as “hijinks ensue.”
Let me back up a bit and see what I can make sense of. The plot is that Alexander has a shitty life, because the rest of his family has a good life. So, he wishes that the rest of his family would have a shitty day, and they do, and Alexander is happy because of their suffering.
I don’t think this film actually has any message, despite all its attempts to appear as if it does. Alexander does say towards the end that you need to accept the bad days so that you can cherish the good days more, but not “accept” as in “not care about,” because you should be mad about it, and also if you find yourself calming down, you should make yourself angry again because you’ve had a shitty day. What?
Alexander and Shit is directed by Miguel Arteta, who previously directed the similarly conflicting Cedar Rapids and Youth in Revolt. It’s an interesting choice for the director, as this is basically the same movie as Andy Fickman’s Parental Guidance, if you replace Billy Crystal with Ed Oxenbould. Arteta’s other films are pretty original, and not exactly kid-friendly. I don’t know where I was going with this paragraph, but the main point is, this is the same fucking movie as Parental Guidance.
The performances are pretty good overall, especially from Oxenbould and Steve Carrell, who do their best with the hands they’re dealt. In fact, I’d say the entire cast was surprisingly good in this movie. Kerris Dorsey and Jennifer Garner both did much better jobs than I expected, and Dick Van Dyke appears as himself, looking not a day over 80. Donald Glover is only in it for two scenes, but I get the feeling he refused to do any more than that.
Really, my main problem with the film is that none of it feels very original. There’s the cool office with Donald Glover from The Muppets, the rocket scientist dad from Kim Possible, the production of Peter Pan gone awry from 21 Jump Street, the exotic animal on the loose from (insert Adam Sandler/Kevin James movie here), and a myriad of other familiarities that make this film annoying as fuck.
So overall, I give it a B. See it if you’re so inclined. More reviews coming soon so give me the ol’ like-n-follow. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY. And as always…
Liek dis if u cry everitme.