Goosebumps (2015)


A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware. (IMDb)
An uninteresting new kid in town narrative doesn’t get much of a boost from the main sci-fi plot: It’s one-note (get rid of the monsters!), poorly founded (“one day they became real!”), and doesn’t fulfill the potential of its meta aspects (Stine’s backstory was left to a couple lines). Meanwhile, Minnette is fine and Black has his moments, but Rush (love interest) is forgettable and Lee (quirky friend) is just plain bad and unfunny. Only the inept cops of two scenes manage to generate laughs.
5/10 (Poor)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

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

Genuine and funny turns from Carrell and Garner lead this short and sweet family comedy with a refreshingly simple slapstick story that offers plenty of laugh out loud moments to go with a nice little heartwarming message about getting through tough times that’s rarely distasteful in its straight-forward delivery, although it is watered down a bit by the easy happy ending–but hey, it’s for the kids, and adults can still appreciate the authenticity of the “sometimes life is hard” aspect of it.