Based on Judith Viorst's 1972 children's picture book, Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is an effervescent comedy about the trials and tribulations that unite a modern family.
Sweet and inoffensive to its candy-coloured core, Miguel Arteta's film bursts with good intentions and wholesome ideals, teaching the titular tyke a valuable lesson about weathering an emotional storm in the company of people you love.
Even if they are the sample people who unwittingly set in motion the chain reaction of mishaps and misadventures.
Rob Lieber's simplistic and episodic script ricochets between the different family members as their carefully ordered worlds implode: a mother races against time to prevent Dick Van Dyke (playing himself) from reading her children's book replete with an embarrassing typo; a father inadvertently sets himself on fire while trying to impress potential employers at a job interview; a daughter guzzles cough syrup to overcome a stinking cold that jeopardises her starring role in a school production of Peter Pan.
Anything that can go wrong does and Arteta captures each cartoonish calamity with a light touch, playing for laughs rather than revelling in the pain behind the pratfalls.
Eleven-year-old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) feels like the universe is conspiring against him.
He's the laughing stock of the entire school, his efforts to impress classmate Becky (Sidney Fullmer) have ended in ignominy and Philip Parker (Lincoln Melcher), the most popular boy in the year, has just announced he is having his birthday party on the same day as Alexander.
Misunderstood by his picture postcard family - father Ben (Steve Carell), mother Kelly (Jennifer Garner), older brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette), sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) and baby brother Trevor (Elise and Zoey Vargas) - Alexander makes a birthday wish for the rest of the Cooper clan to walk in his shoes for 24 hours.
"I wish they knew what it felt like to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day," he laments, blowing out the birthday candle on his cake.
As if by magic, the entire Cooper family endures a day that threatens to leave them heartbroken and penniless.
As the calamities stack up, Alexander wonders if he should come clean to his loved ones about his involvement in their spectacular downfall.
Alexander And The Terrible... is an entertaining half-term treat for all ages that doesn't drizzle on the sentimentality too thick.
Oxenbould is an appealingly awkward hero and Carell and Garner offer robust support, embracing the broad physical comedy that their roles demand including a frenzied bicycle ride and a bruising encounter with an ostrich.
"I think you've got to have the bad days so you can love the good days even more," philosophises Alexander towards the end of this madcap journey of self-discovery.
All together now: awwwww.