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Max Keeble's Big Move (August 5/02)

You know you're in trouble when the movie you're watching makes Snow Day look edgy by comparison.

Max Keeble's Big Move is a kiddie movie, plain and simple. There are few references aimed at adults (the key to making a children's flick accessible to us grown-ups) and the whole thing is just juvenile. Alex D. Linz stars as the title character, a semi-popular kid who's preparing to start his first day of junior high. Along with his two best friends - a weirdo who's always wearing a robe and a girl who secretly has a crush on Max - Keeble confidently makes the switch from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond. Alas, it's not quite as seamless as he would have hoped, as he has to contend with not one but two bullies, a sinister ice cream man, and a stern principal. But Keeble is offered a chance to fight back when he learns that he's going to be moving to Chicago by the end of the week. Assuming he'll never be back, he decides to get revenge on everyone who's wronged him. It's only after he's put his elaborate plans into motion that he discovers the move isn't happening after all. Now, Max has to figure out a way to mend the many bridges he's burned.

Max Keeble's Big Move will no doubt appeal to small children, with sequences involving food fights and school bullies receiving their comeuppance, but the film is a complete dead zone for anyone over a certain age (most likely 12). It's loud, it's colorful… it's annoying. Unlike, say, a Pixar movie, Max Keeble's Big Move isn't interested in keeping us adults entertained by throwing in sly references that are guaranteed to sail right over most kids heads. Rather, the film contains references aimed directly at the core audience (Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell has a cameo, for crying out loud!) Well, okay, truth be told I did enjoy that cameo, but that doesn't change the fact that watching the movie is akin to sitting inside a Chuck E. Cheese for an hour and a half.

There was exactly one really enjoyable moment during Max Keeble's Big Move - a school band plays Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It - but the rest was just over-the-top loudness.

out of