Good news! Max Keeble's Big Move is the greatest movie ever made... if you are 12 years old. Its depiction of junior high is surprisingly enlightening; kids from all over can identify with these simple characters. There's plenty of preteen gossip, wacky school staff members, and drooling over attractive girls. Thus it is a sure-fire hit for its unabashed target audience.
Unfortunately, I'm not 12 years old, and I really didn't need to be reminded of those times I spent fighting with teachers, standing up to bullies, and getting poor grades. So if you're not in the 11- to 13-year-old target market, this film is only remotely amusing.
Not that Max Keeble's Big Move is painful to watch -- it's actually pretty light-hearted and, at times, quite funny. Considering the nature of the beast, this movie isn't half bad. The performances give a relevant story energy and life, and the slapstick humor often makes you laugh. Guiltily, but you still laugh.
Alex D. Linz from Home Alone 3 plays the title character, who, as the movie opens, enters junior high. He's got friends, enemies, and a major dilemma -- his father's business is moving. The Keebles need to be out of town by the end of the week, and Max doesn't want to leave his hometown. But wait! If he doesn't need to worry about the consequences, he has one last chance to settle a few scores.
Sadly, the film ultimately serves up a bunch of preachy boloney, stuff about standing up for yourself, facing bullies, saving animals, and every other lesson you can learn as a kid in middle school. Screenwriters Jonathan Bernstein, Mark Blackwell, and James Greer make this such a silly, simple story, that when it finally does try to provide the audience with a real moral, it comes off as just another missed target.
The soundtrack defines each scene by filling the movie with the latest in kiddie pop music. This isn't a terrible idea since kids don't really look for effective mood development, anyway -- instead the film is much more interested in its own shallow sense of humor.
The DVD features a few extras, but even if kids are into the movie they aren't too likely to be interested in the bonus material -- namely deleted scenes and a kind of mini-documentary "life on the set" short with Alex Linz.
Max Keeble's big hair.