Max Keeble's Big Move

Keeble rhymes with feeble, and that is the main point to remember about Max Keeble's Big Move, the disappointing new Disney film. Max (Alex D. Linz, Bounce, Titan A.E.) is a little runt of a boy just entering Junior High. He has high hopes, since now, he can be a new person. He will no longer be the little geek who dresses weird and is band. He has a new outlook on life, a new wardrobe, and a new fresh attitude (he calls 'phattitude"). Nevertheless, the best of intentions may not be enough. The school bullies pick on him, the principal dislikes him, and the cute girls ignore him. He only has his friends Robe (Josh Peck, Snow Day, The Newcomers) and Megan (Zena Grey, Summer Catch, The Bone Collector) to commiserate with.

That is, until his parents announce they are moving to Chicago. At first, Max is extremely hesitant, but then realizes his newfound freedom. He is moving on Friday, so he can do whatever he wants without facing the consequences. This gives him the strength and courage to take down the bullies, humiliate the principal, get the girl, face down his nemesis (the ice cream truck man) and turn into a newer, cooler Max. If only the movie did the same. Since this is a family movie, Max's parents inevitably renege on the move, forcing him to face all the consequences of his actions. Max Keeble's Big Move is an unengaging experience, even for its intended child audience. There are four writers credited with the story and screenplay. David Watts, Jonathan Bernstein, Mark Blackwell, and James Greer combine only to provide more people for more outlandish revenge scenarios.

The jokes are familiar and the characters boring. Especially many of Max's intended targets, who are all cartoonish buffoons. Larry Miller (The Princess Diaries, What's the Worst That Could Happen?) is desperately unfunny as Principal Jindraike, the clueless mean administrator. It's so sad, considering he has so much more comedic talent. Jamie Kennedy (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dr. Dolittle 2) is equally boring. Worst of all, Max is boring. He doesn't seem that smart, yet somehow concocts all of these outlandish plans that actually work. The story portrays him as spoiled and close to obnoxious, which does not help generate sympathy with the viewer. Even in the final act of the movie, where Max learns his lesson and everything resolves itself, it still feels like he learned nothing. Director Tim Hill (Muppets in Space, Action League Now!) provides the usual assortment of lame jokes that adults think children will laugh at. He is wrong. It's very hard to make quality children movies. Most of the time, writers and directors look down on the intelligence of kids. The results are movies like Max Keeble.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 26 minutes, Rated PG for some bullying and crude humor.

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