Max Keeble's Big Move

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A Pleasantly Surprising, Max Keeble's Big Move

Oct 7, 2001 (Updated Apr 26, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Alex D. Linz turns in a near perfect performance.

Cons:A couple of "afterschool" moments.

The Bottom Line: A kid's movie that is written in a way that shames many adult comedies. Uh-huh, it's good.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

Preamble
I try to be a good mother. When a new kid's type movie comes out, I'll take an afternoon and set it aside for me and Ethan to have some mommy/Ethan alone time. We load up on the sugar and many times, it's just us and a few people in the theater. I really love watching his reactions to the movie more than watching the movie itself. We saw the trailer for Max Keeble months ago during the showing of Spy Kids. It looked pleasant enough and we added it to our must see list.

Bottomline
Kid's movies typically bore me. Spy Kids - eh - that was okay. Recess School's Out - sure, it was fine. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film.

Similar to Cats and Dogs, you totally just want to stay focused on what is going on due to the witty dialog. I laughed out loud so many times in the theater.

This gets four stars from me. It's most suitable for children that are 9 and older. I don't think that my 7 year old got every thing and there was only one "questionable" type phrase in the entire movie. Some kid says, that bites.

ANYWAY...

And The Story Goes Like This....
Max Keeble (Alex D. Linz) has been looking forward to the seventh grade, and specifically Junior High, for a very long time.

A peak into Max's home life shows us that his father (Robert Carradine) is a spineless, junior advertising executive and his mother (Nora Dunn) is a Martha Stewart wannabe.

Before the official first day bell rings, we're introduced to Max's two best friends - Megan (Zena Grey) and Robe (Josh Peck). Megan is your typical band freak and Robe got his nickname from always wearing a robe with his school clothes.

From the first moment that they step off of the bus, it seems like every one is bullying Max.

The school bully, (Noel Fisher) decides that today is the day that Max will pay for being a seventh grader. Max is dropped in a mud bath, covered with sawdust, and then thrown into the school cafeteria's dumpster.

Principal Jindraike (Larry Miller) is absolutely furious when Max walks into his school assembly late AND smelling like the cafeteria's dumpster. He vows to keep a close eye on that trouble maker, Max Keeble. And he does. He follows Max all around the school, keeping track of his every move.

Dobbs (Orlando Brown), conveinently takes Max's lunch movie and promises to invest it for him. The combination of his fast talking and hand held, leave Max in a state of shock and completely unable to fight back for his lunch money.

And then there's the Evil Ice Cream Man (Jamie Kennedy), who tortures Max by day (while he's doing his newspaper route) and who taunts him at school. See, the Evil Ice Cream Man is a street vendor that serves ice cream to the kiddies at his Junior High.

To make things worse, Max finds out that the animal shelter he loves to go to, is being closed up by some greedy person. This, of course, will leave the beloved animals homeless.

Max is overwhelmed. He's tired of being picked on.

No need to fear. His parents announce that his father has taken another position and that they are moving in a couple of days. At first, Max doesn't want to, but when he thinks about it, he uses the next couple of days to his advantage.

Figuring that he has three days left and absolutely no accountability to this school or anyone here, Max schemes up a plan to get back at the Evil Ice Cream Man, Dobbs, The Principal, and The Bully. Oh, and if he can save that animal shelter, he will.

The rest of the movie is spent watching Max and his friends execute the plan.

In the end, every thing works out. Max doesn't end up moving and in a Revenge of the Nerds moment, every one pays their dues.

Why This Worked...
Where to even begin.....

Executive Producer Guy Reidel seems to get smarter and more consumer savvy with each movie he works on. He's had other hits (most recently Crazy, Beautiful), but none as smart as this film.

Let's take a detour for a moment. After growing up with Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo, if I'm forced to watch cartoons with my seven year old, I want to be entertained too. One of the reasons that Nickelodeon is loved by my generation (and their kids) is because the cartoons put into their schedule are usually smart and witty. Same goes for other animated series like The Simpsons and King of the Hill.

Kudos to new writers, Jonathan Bernstein, Mark Blackwell, and James Greer for writing dialog that both kids and adults can enjoy. That's a very difficult thing to pull off.

Tim Hill, who exerted a great deal of influence into Rocko's Modern Life (a regular animated series on Nickelodeon), knows how to work with kids, animals, and adults. The comedic timing of almost every scene was flawless. The action scenes were fun and adventurous. It certainly held our attention and made us laugh out loud several times.

Let's talk about the casting. I would not have changed any of it.

Alex D. Linz is gorgeous and smart without being annoying. I've heard he's in Home Alone 3 and it's probably good that I didn't see that as HA2 was pretty annoying. Might have biased me here ;). As long as Alex has a good agent, and as long as he is careful about the movie he selects, he has the opportunity of transitioning well into older roles.

Seeing Robert Carradine was a treat. I'm a big Revenge of the Nerds fan and seeing him play a character who was just a couple of hairs different from his usual nerdy self was fantastic. I couldn't see anyone else in that role.

I think Nora Dunn is greatly underrated. Unlike her Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon, Nora's humor is refreshing and right on target. She was not only a believable mother but a believable Martha Stewart wannabe.

So Why Not The Five Stars?
It's not like there was any thing bad about this movie. What led me in the end to give this four stars was the Afterschool Special moments that came towards the end of the movie. Now believe me, it was probably a good thing to do. We don't want kids thinking that exacting revenge on bullies is something they should be doing. Still, I would have liked to see them veer off from the usual, feel-good formula.


Recommend this product? Yes


Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8

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