Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Is Okay

Plus, The Judge, Dracula Untold, Men, Women & Children, Addicted, and Certified Fresh TV.

by | October 9, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got family pratfalls (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner); a tense trial (The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall); a legendary vampire (Dracula Untold, starring Luke Evans and Sarah Gadon); a failure to communicate (Men, Women & Children, starring Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt); and a torrid affair (Addicted, starring Sharon Leal and Boris Kodjoe). What do the critics have to say?

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


<pTerrible, horrible, no good, and very bad? Or terrific, honest, noteworthy, and very good? Critics say Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day falls directly in the middle — it’s pleasant, charming, inoffensive, and a little tepid. Based upon Judith Viorst’s beloved children’s book, the movie stars Ed Oxenbould, who has a lousy day at school and subsequently wishes that his other family members are also stricken with bad luck as well. Hilarity and, ultimately, family bonding ensue. The pundits say Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is perfectly passable family entertainment — it’s well-meaning and reasonably funny, but nothing earth-shaking. (Watch our video interviews with stars Jennifer Garner, Steve Carrell, Ed Oxenbould, and more.)

The Judge


It’s been a while since we’ve been treated to a weighty courtroom drama at the multiplex, so it’s not unreasonable to have high expectations for The Judge — especially since it stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Unfortunately, critics say that despite its fine performances, the film is overlong and far too predictable. Hank Palmer (Downey) is a big-city attorney who returns to his hometown in Indiana for his mother’s funeral. His estranged father Joseph (Duvall), the town judge, is accused of murder, so Hank ends up defending him, while trying to make peace with the past. The pundits say The Judge is impeccably crafted, and the stars play off each other quite well, but it’s got too much melodrama and not enough suspense. (Check out our video interviews with Downey, Duvall, and more.)

Dracula Untold


You can drive a stake through his heart, expose him to sunlight, and come at him with a convent’s-worth of crucifixes, and still, Dracula will rise again — since the silent era, we’ve been treated to hundreds of cinematic depictions of Transylvania’s favorite son. That said, critics say Dracula Untold is visually striking but narratively shaky, borrowing heavily from a wide range of fantasy/adventure movies. In 15th Century Romania, Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) makes a deal with an old vampire in order to protect his kingdom from an invading army. He’s granted a variety of supernatural powers, but at the cost of developing a taste for blood. The pundits say Dracula Untold offers some fun battle scenes, but it’s a bit unclear on the rules of being a vampire. (See interviews with Evans, Sarah Gadon, and more.)

Men, Women & Children


In Up in the Air and Young Adult, director Jason Reitman crafted witty, portraits of lonely people trying to connect with others. Unfortunately, critics say his latest, Men, Women & Children, jettisons the wit in favor of a more hectoring tone that’s only partially redeemed by the strong cast. It’s a multi-stranded ensemble piece set in a small town in Texas, in which adults and their teenage children are immersed in their phones and computers, but have difficulty communicating offline. The pundits say Men, Women & Children is ambitious and well-acted, but its message ultimately overrides its storytelling.



We’d love to tell you what the critics thought of Addicted, but it wasn’t screened prior to its release. It’s the tale of a successful businesswoman who gets in over her head when she cheats on her husband with an artist. Guess the Tomatometer!

Certified Fresh on TV this week:

We’ve seen plenty of heavy, gritty superhero stories lately. What critics say makes The Flash (Certified Fresh at 96 percent) stand out is it light, likeable tone — it’s energetic, buoyant, and likely to have appeal beyond the comics crowd.

The fourth iteration of Ryan Murphy’s creep fest, American Horror Story: Freak Show (Certified Fresh at 79 percent) proves there are plenty more dark corners for the series to explore; Critics say it’s stylishly presented and well-acted by returning players Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Whiplash, starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons in a drama about an ambitious jazz drummer and his punishingly strict teacher, is Certified Fresh at 97 percent.
  • The Overnighters, a documentary about the influx of people looking for stable jobs amidst North Dakota’s energy boom, is at 94 percent.
  • Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, the second installment of the horror/comedy franchise about Nazi zombies, is at 87 percent.
  • Kill the Messenger, starring Jeremy Renner in a drama about investigative journalist Gary Webb’s discovery of CIA ties to a drug trafficking conspiracy, is at 71 percent (check out Renner’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • The Canal, a horror film about a man who is haunted by a grisly murder that took place in his home, is at 71 percent.
  • St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy in a comedy about a hard-living curmudgeon who bonds with his neighbor’s 12-year-old son, is at 63 percent.
  • One Chance, a drama based on the true story of the amateur opera singer who became an overnight sensation on Britain’s Got Talent, is at 61 percent.
  • I Am Ali, featuring audio recordings of the boxing legend, is at 42 percent.
  • You’re Not You, starring Hilary Swank and Emmy Rossum in a drama about a woman suffering from ALS and the college student who cares for her, is at 22 percent.
  • Autómata, starring Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith in a sci-fi drama about an insurance agent who investigates a self-improving robot, is at 21 percent.
  • The Pact II, a horror film about a woman who’s bedeviled by a serial killer, is at zero percent.
  • Kite, starring Samuel L. Jackson and India Eisley in a thriller about an orphan who attempts to break free from the detective who trained her to be a killer, is at zero percent.
  • Catch Hell, starring Ryan Phillippe as a has-been actor who’s kidnapped and blackmailed while shooting an indie film, is at zero percent.

Tag Cloud

Musicals TV One halloween tv dragons satire Sundance Now PaleyFest Rocketman marvel cinematic universe 007 critics Animation concert Amazon Prime Video CW Seed rom-coms blockbusters comic book movie children's TV Emmys period drama Star Trek rt labs critics edition leaderboard disaster zombie hispanic olympics Certified Fresh criterion stand-up comedy spider-verse spinoff Pop TV Esquire Columbia Pictures zero dark thirty SundanceTV HBO Go Summer Bravo Pride Month sitcom free movies romantic comedy Wes Anderson adaptation fast and furious anthology superhero Captain marvel cults Family Schedule toy story movies Spectrum Originals DC Universe Baby Yoda 2015 Universal 2021 golden globe awards rt labs YouTube Red AMC Plus scorecard DGA Nickelodeon streaming The Purge Comedy Central The CW cooking Comic-Con@Home 2021 all-time Comic Book NYCC Endgame The Arrangement jurassic park TCA Apple TV+ Biopics natural history golden globes gangster Pacific Islander Discovery Channel Opinion slasher talk show 4/20 spider-man hispanic heritage month justice league psychological thriller Turner Classic Movies Crackle Disney+ Disney Plus deadpool Comedy dreamworks VOD Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 2019 best true crime discovery Trophy Talk composers blaxploitation CBS All Access scary movies adventure Holiday french dceu anime marvel comics Amazon cancelled TV series miniseries hist razzies comic books cops Awards TCA 2017 Marvel Comics on TV Freeform HBO Max GLAAD festivals NBC LGBTQ YA BBC America National Geographic art house docuseries renewed TV shows OneApp Mindy Kaling Christmas documentaries OWN doctor who Fargo Superheroe political drama action-comedy Musical trailers Marathons cinemax game show diversity singing competition Netflix Christmas movies child's play Character Guide dc Sci-Fi YouTube new star wars movies sopranos japanese Dark Horse Comics critic resources canceled james bond wonder woman jamie lee curtis Walt Disney Pictures Hallmark Christmas movies FX boxoffice BET rotten hollywood reviews 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Spike superman Crunchyroll spain mission: impossible Horror dramedy Pet Sematary aapi Mary poppins Turner werewolf HFPA AMC IFC Films sequels genre travel Martial Arts Amazon Studios Tokyo Olympics VICE based on movie spanish language name the review TBS IMDb TV Countdown Ghostbusters medical drama royal family Interview cancelled TCA Awards book adaptation vs. a nightmare on elm street Black History Month Quiz Fantasy posters stop motion History RT21 Mystery 99% CMT USA Network Neflix docudrama FXX TV movies Hallmark independent new york Sneak Peek supernatural MTV venice Writers Guild of America comedies films foreign Spring TV black comedy Photos 21st Century Fox video on demand Black Mirror south america Funimation toronto TCM Rom-Com Shondaland Hear Us Out Grammys streaming movies 2020 live event Broadway Sony Pictures japan video Red Carpet DC streaming service First Reviews Heroines scene in color trophy finale Lionsgate PBS documentary Mary Tyler Moore Instagram Live Superheroes Epix E3 HBO franchise Cartoon Network biopic APB green book Amazon Prime Starz Britbox Classic Film ABC Warner Bros. Set visit elevated horror emmy awards strong female leads Winter TV technology young adult comic book movies kong TV renewals comic lord of the rings Tarantino FX on Hulu FOX mcc crime casting halloween Ovation high school mutant Universal Pictures king kong Podcast TLC Creative Arts Emmys CNN universal monsters Infographic stoner Lifetime laika TNT A&E kids pirates of the caribbean witnail unscripted A24 LGBT joker crime drama Star Wars 2016 ID Chilling Adventures of Sabrina E! prank Sundance Song of Ice and Fire Masterpiece Emmy Nominations twilight Disney streaming service game of thrones award winner See It Skip It Reality Competition Women's History Month Tubi CBS 90s ESPN Polls and Games Mary Poppins Returns animated Paramount Network kaiju slashers Tomatazos Valentine's Day psycho king arthur ITV El Rey New York Comic Con Paramount cartoon Oscars screen actors guild canceled TV shows comics Television Critics Association basketball police drama hidden camera transformers ghosts 1990s richard e. Grant Disney Plus Alien Ellie Kemper news 93rd Oscars ViacomCBS Nominations Stephen King TCA Winter 2020 parents 2018 nature The Witch BBC directors sequel NBA indie spy thriller Avengers RT History Extras Apple TV Plus cars Exclusive Video Showtime Election serial killer Hollywood Foreign Press Association Cosplay Calendar what to watch Film Festival Nat Geo Tumblr Netflix facebook DC Comics Pop IFC vampires ABC Signature series die hard indiana jones Marvel Studios TV Land war Lucasfilm adenture ratings godzilla Logo mockumentary classics sag awards remakes Rock Cannes WGN Kids & Family Reality debate know your critic Pixar scary crossover Super Bowl Pirates spanish christmas movies thriller Travel Channel Winners The Walt Disney Company Western cancelled TV shows obituary fresh Marvel Television Fox News zombies monster movies USA Teen Shudder nfl 20th Century Fox Sundance TV festival legend tv talk 71st Emmy Awards biography women Music blockbuster Premiere Dates X-Men book Television Academy cancelled television Fall TV TIFF Thanksgiving Action breaking bad MSNBC Drama telelvision Image Comics asian-american international politics new zealand saw Trailer TruTV Tags: Comedy Awards Tour GIFs San Diego Comic-Con revenge chucky Year in Review Legendary 73rd Emmy Awards reboot Paramount Plus rt archives feel good suspense latino Elton John Hulu versus TV binge live action Video Games BBC One 45 Lifetime Christmas movies BET Awards Disney Channel Peacock ABC Family Anna Paquin black worst romance BAFTA aliens dogs theme song Box Office Academy Awards Vudu robots television screenings WarnerMedia Country The Academy The Walking Dead Adult Swim Brie Larson Toys Arrowverse SXSW football Holidays dark First Look Watching Series DirecTV Fox Searchlight batman 72 Emmy Awards Disney boxing Acorn TV 2017 VH1 Prime Video dexter target Trivia Apple worst movies archives American Society of Cinematographers nbcuniversal harry potter PlayStation Film sports space australia popular Chernobyl italian SDCC Mudbound MCU historical drama social media Food Network rotten movies we love 79th Golden Globes Awards YouTube Premium President comiccon GoT movie science fiction mob teaser Binge Guide crime thriller cats Syfy heist movie Rocky quibi 24 frames Best and Worst