In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_nnkx3ahyot7p3au92dnglf4pkwa

The Congress

"The Congress" is a roll call of the orgiastic pleasures and bountiful comforts that art provides, and, a reminder of what waits for us when…

Thumb_as_above_so_below_xlg

As Above, So Below

It's that rare found-footage film with a strong premise, a memorably eccentric style, and plenty of energy to burn. It's also poorly conceived, and hard…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Max Keeble's Big Move

  |  

Kids in comedies are especially clever. They see through adults in a wink, outsmart their opponents, plot to get what they want, and are cute, articulate and never have pimples. Take Max Keeble (Alex D. Linz), for example. It is his first day of junior high school, and his hormones have recently started to send him messages, which, when he sees Woodwind Girl (Zena Grey), he finds himself finally able to decode. He likes junior high school, all except for those two obligatory characters in all junior high school movies, the bully and the obnoxious principal. The bully, named Troy McGinty (Noel Fisher), is taller, blond and looks (as bullies always seem to look in these movies) like a 12-year-old Gary Busey. The principal is named Principal Jindraike (Larry Miller), and looks (as principals always seem to look in these movies) like Larry Miller.

Max is beginning to make headway with Woodwind Girl, and in his struggle against Troy, and in his campaign to prevent the principal's insane zeal to tear down an animal shelter and build a stadium. But then disaster strikes, when his father (Robert Carradine) tells his mother (Nora Dunn) that they are moving in a week so he can take a new job. And just when she finally had the house decorated perfectly! You will imagine that this is not the kind of movie that holds me spellbound. It explains why I am so grateful for a film like "Spy Kids" that the entire family (including adults) can enjoy. This is more like an after-school Nickelodeon romp, with bright colors, broad jokes, lots of sight gags, characters landing in deep wet puddles and a plot assembled from off-the-shelf parts.

There's a tendency with these movies to spend money to conceal the lack of creativity. There is, for example, an ice cream truck that at one point is hoisted aloft by a crane so that it can spill hundreds of gallons of melted ice cream over the villains, and we wonder if a funnier and more economical solution was not available.

Some moments are funny. I liked Miller, who seemed to regard the movie's characters with about as much affection as I did, and makes school-wide telecasts from his office with a U.S. Capitol photographic backdrop behind him, just like our lawmakers. And Alex D. Linz ("Home Alone 3") is a talented young actor; I suspect this is a film about which he had private thoughts, too, since anyone as smart as he is would not be much entertained by what he is made to do.

So, yes, Brendan Staunton, I agree that kids are a little, or perhaps even a lot, too wise in American movies. But you have to remember that when the movie is good enough, we forgive them. Look at "E.T.," for example. And over here in America we are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of your Harry Potter, who is a lot, or even a whole lot, too wise.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Different rules apply

White privilege, lived.

Ferguson, Missouri: Third World America vs. Atlas Shrugged

An FFC looks at the horrible situation in Ferguson, MO and what it says about where we are and where we're going.

Interview: Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse on what Hollywood’s love of blockbusters means for the rest of us

An interview with Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, author of “Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, ...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus