Luckless 11-going-on-12-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) would like his insufferably chipper family to know what it feels like to have a day when everything sucks.

Bad idea: his eve-of-birthday wish unleashes a tsunami of disaster for his clan in this breezy Disney family comedy based on the popular 1972 children’s book by Judith Viorst.

Oxenbould makes an appealing, highly relatable young hero, and Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell throw themselves with gusto into the grown-up roles.

With a crude misprint turning publishing executive mom’s celebrity book launch with Dick Van Dyke into a fiasco, and unemployed househusband dad meeting similar disaster when he takes the baby along to a job interview, the ensuing calamities escalate in silliness but happily keep enough within the realm of possibility to make the film work.