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Max Keeble's Big Move

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2001 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
Max Keeble's Big Move


from Film Forum, 10/18/01

Parents looking for a family-friendly movie may have noticed the arrival of Disney's latest kids' comedy—Max Keeble's Big Move.

"The Disney team has mounted a handsome production with a clever idea at its core," says Michael Elliott of Movie Parables. "Geared for the pre-teenage set, Max Keeble's Big Move delivers laughs to young and old alike. The children will like the cafeteria food fight and embarrassing the principal. Parents will appreciate the gentle humor and the moral lessons that the characters learn."

Ted Baehr's Movieguide posits that the film meets standards of movie morality, and hands out a rare recommendation. "It delivers some good laughs and great lessons about loyalty, returning good for evil and facing one's fears with wisdom."

But Focus on the Family's Loren Eaton doesn't like what youngsters might learn from young Max's blurred ethics. "Most of the adults in Max's life are either passive fixtures, idiotic dweebs or unjust dictators," she observes. She criticizes Max's tactic of breaking the rules in order to teach lessons to authority figures—like his teacher. "In the real world, Max would have told his parents about his teacher's unfairness, and they would have called a conference. But … he decides that the 'rules' have to end. After kicking the aforementioned teacher's globe off of her desk and cutting her telephone cord so she can't call the principal, he wreaks havoc for the next hour of the film under the guise of 'justice.' According to this logic, the fact that [another student] is a cheating jerk warrants breaking and entering, destruction of property, theft, assault and all sorts of malicious pranks."

Douglas Downs's response to this kids film is to turn nostalgic for another recent film: "I am now completely convinced that Spy Kids should be required viewing … for anyone who desires to make a movie for children. That film had children who acted like children, and adults who acted like adults. How hard can that be?" He registers several complaints against director Tim Hill's mad Max movie. "Big Day contains the following: teenage girl viewed as a sex object … students lusting after their science teacher … students breaking into the principal's office, students sabotaging the ice cream truck and framing someone else … strong themes of revenge without consequences, and the idea that vigilante justice means always outweighs the unfortunate ends. Several recent Disney disappointments have gotten me to screen Disney fare before taking my own children, and in this case I'm glad my 10-year-old son wasn't in the audience."

At The Dove Foundation, Paul Bicking writes, "Good messages abound, but parents may worry about such behaviors. … However, Max learns the true meaning of friendship and the rewards of helping others, which makes [the movie] a step in the right direction."

The USCC's critic found it a "disappointing children's comedy. With laughs falling flat and a theme of revenge that is only weakly rectified at the end … Hill's tired tale has little to recommend it."


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