Max Keeble's Big Move Movie Review

Even when presented with a reasonably original idea for a kids' movie like "Max Keeble's Big Move," Disney can always find a way to bleed all the color out of it and give the resulting product that Mouse House assembly-line feel.

Max (Alex D. Linz), our hero, is a diminutive, idiosyncratic seventh-grader with a rubbery face and a hurricane hairdo, who starts junior high on the wrong foot, running afoul of two bullies and the conniving school principal on the first day of class. The original idea in here is that just when he's sure he's in for a miserable year, his father announces the family is moving away, and Max realizes he has a golden opportunity to assert himself and wreak some havoc without any consequences.

Max concocts a plan to humiliate the bullies, expose the principal's illicit designs for the school budget, and make time with a ninth-grader (Brooke Anne Smith) so babelicious that she gets Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby (One More Time)" as her very own theme song.

There's a gold mine of all-ages comedy to be had in this concept, but director Tim Hill ("Muppets From Space") and his trio of first-time writers adhere to that condescending belief that "it's just a kids' movie," so they just don't try very hard.

Sure, "Max Keeble" is a giggle-fest for the grade school set, but 90 percent of its laughs are from jokes and clichés that weren't even fresh when the East Side Kids peddled them. The principal dancing around with a squirrel in his pants or a teacher being pelted with pudding during a cafeteria food fight -- why not aim for something more? Why make a throwaway movie on purpose?

Hill is not as guilty as some kids' movie directors, but he is clearly more interested in casting flash-in-the-pan pop music idols (Lil' Romeo, the prepubescent rap-over-other-people's songs artist, plays himself) than he is in mining the novelties of the plot.

Max and his outcast best friends -- band geek Megan (Zena Gray) and a fat kid known as "Robe" (Josh Peck) because that's what he wears to school -- are anything but memorable. In fact, the least generic character in the film is also the most absurd -- a bully who fancies himself a Wall Street wiz, sporting a suit, tie, briefcase and Palm Pilot. Shouldn't this kid be on the receiving end of wedgies and swirlies?

The mugging charisma of Linz ("One Fine Day," "Bounce") and cleverness at the picture's core help "Max Keeble" cling to life while it's pummeled by patently unoriginal execution, simplistic plot developments (the superintendent is coming for an inspection) and inexplicable casting (fashion model Amber Valletta as a science teacher?!?).

But just when the plot thickens -- Max's parents decide not to move after all -- the last act goes flat with pat, gimmick-driven resolutions and a yawner of a climax that's so easy it smacks of lazy, disinterested screenwriting.

Is "Max Keeble's Big Move" adequate matinee fodder that will entertain adolescents and placate parents? Sure. But it could have been much more if the filmmakers had bothered to try a little harder.

Comments

Max Keeble's Big Move Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG, Opened: Friday, October 5, 2001

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Miley Cyrus' Homeless VMA Date, Jesse Helt, Is Wanted By Police

Miley Cyrus' date to Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards is a wanted man...

Miley Cyrus' Homeless VMA Date, Jesse Helt, Is Wanted By Police

Sarah Silverman Hopes To Return To 'Masters Of Sex' Next Season

Sarah Silverman will return to Masters of Sex next season, or so she hopes....

Sarah Silverman Hopes To Return To 'Masters Of Sex' Next Season

Marianas Trench - Pop 101 Video

July saw the release of Marianas Trench's latest single, 'Pop 101'. They have now released a lyric video Universal Music Group....

Marianas Trench - Pop 101 Video

Sofia Vergara Responds To Emmy Awards Pedestal "Sexist" Criticism

Nothing ever seems to get Sofia Vergara down, and really why would it? She...

Sofia Vergara Responds To Emmy Awards Pedestal

Did Nicki Minaj Stage Her VMA Performance Wardrobe Malfunction?

Reports are suggesting Nicki Minaj ensured her dress was unzipped at the...

Did Nicki Minaj Stage Her VMA Performance Wardrobe Malfunction?

Kill The Messenger - Trailer

Kill the Messenger follows the real life story of Journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), as he stumbles upon the story of a...

Kill The Messenger Trailer

'Full House' Set To Return To Our Screens After 20 Years Off Air?

Full House, the hit ABC sitcom which ran from 1987 to 1995, may return to our...

'Full House' Set To Return To Our Screens After 20 Years Off Air?

Justin Bieber References Princess Diana Whilst Bemoaning Paparazzi On Twitter

Justin Bieber was involved in a minor car accident on Tuesday (26th August) when...

Justin Bieber References Princess Diana Whilst Bemoaning Paparazzi On Twitter

Oprah Winfrey Reportedly Set To Play Richard Pryor's Abusive Grandmother In Upcoming Biopic

Oprah Winfrey has confirmed her involvement in an upcoming biopic of the...

Oprah Winfrey Reportedly Set To Play Richard Pryor's Abusive Grandmother In Upcoming Biopic
Advertisement