If your male child is at all fond of post-‘80s Nickelodeon, the lame Max Keeble’s Big Move is sure to be this weekend’s hottest ticket. This Disney nerd fantasia is virtually unwatchable, despite some frequently absurd flourishes (a flashback sequence likens one bully’s behavior to his fear of a cartoon frog named Mr. MacGoobles) and loveable stock characters (a chimp and a waitress of the Crispy Crème variety). Max Keeble (Alex D. Linz) begins junior high and becomes target to an assortment of cartoonish foes, prime of which is an ice cream man (Jamie Kennedy, putting Pauly Shore to shame) and a principal with delusions of grandeur (the scenery-chewing Larry Miller). Poor Max can’t get any respect, especially with a posse of dorky friends by his side; Zena Gray’s Megan is innocent enough but Josh Peck’s “freak with the robe” (yes, he wears pajamas to school) is Rosie O’Donnell in a prepubescent male nutshell—you might clap when he gets the beatdown. Max has “phattidue” (phat plus attitude; God, that Max is clever!), unleashing revenge on his enemies once his loser father announces the family is moving to Chicago. But, get this: Max Keeble doesn’t actually move. This, of course, puts a damper on the geeky Max’s “take back the night” routine; he now has to deal with extra hot-headed antagonists while trying to figure out how he’ll save the school’s adjacent animal farm from destruction. Most offensive is the PG film’s inanely insulting portrayal of its females. A hot-to-trot chemistry teacher—the bizarrely named Ms. Dingman (model Amber Valetta)—causes bunsen burners to spontaneously ignite while Britney Spears’s “...Baby One More Time” accompanies hottie ninth grader Jenna’s slow-motion steps. Big Move is bland and joyless, a cookie cutter message (“Never forget your true friends while climbing that coolness ladder”) lent the Disney Channel treatment. Max Keeble’s Big Move is perpetually uncool, sure to make boys into bully-meat once they step outside the movie theater.
- Walt Disney Pictures
- 95 min
- Tim Hill
- Jonathan Bernstein, Mark Blackwell, James Greer
- Zena Grey, Alex D. Linz, Larry Miller, Justin Berfield, Orlando Brown, P.J. Byrne, Robert Carradine, Clifton Davis, E.J. De La Pena, Nora Dunn, Noel Fisher, DC Ford, Dennis Haskins
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