Seventh grade. Junior high. A rite of passage every twelve-year-old looks forward to with that bittersweet mixture of anticipation and loathing. For paperboy Max Keeble, seventh grade means a chance at a new beginning and an opportunity to reinvent himself and start over. But he soon realizes that seventh grade will just be business as usual: he's got not one but two schoolyard bullies after him; the principal is out to get him; and as if that weren't enough, he's got an evil ice cream man on his tail. But then Max's mom and dad drop the bomb: he's moving to a new city in a week! Emboldened by the fact that he'll be relocated soon, and rather than put up with the normal routine of the school, he begins an all-out plan for retaliation on all the bullies who have picked on him. After creating a week of mayhem, Max finds out he's not moving after all and must face up to the consequences of his actions.
Small children with a sense of humor scarcely beyond fetal may cackle themselves silly at "Max Keeble's Big Move." But the truth is that this clunky juvenile comedy lurches among multiple story lines without fully realizing the comic potential of any. Max (Alex D. Linz) is doused in mud, basted in sawdust and tossed by the school bully into a bin of discarded food, has his lunch money appropriated by the school's resident extortionist and incurs the wrath of the corrupt principal. Then Max is told that his father must move the family to Chicago within days, and he feels liberated. Now he can fight his tormentors without fear of consequences. – Lawrence Van Gelder
2001-10-05 | Lawrence Van Gelder | Read the New York Times Review of Max Keeble's Big Move