Max Rules

 
(i)

 

Spy Kids-style adventure is lackluster but may amuse kids.
  • Review Date: January 22, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

This movie is for entertainment purposes.

Positive messages

Positive messages about friendship and teamwork are prevalent, but sometimes the kids are also troublemakers who disregard rules, both at home and at school. But it can't be denied that their perseverance and courage save the day.

Positive role models

Max and his friends work together quite well, but they can also be mischievous, like when they execute a food fight in the cafeteria or sneak out without permission. They eventually band together to stop an ill-intentioned video game company from using a stolen top-secret micro-chip.

Violence & scariness

Toward the end of the movie, there is a frightening sequence when the kids fight off the villains, who push and shove them. Jessica uses martial arts to fight off a menacing man, who aims to harm the kids. The kids kick and tackle their nemeses.

Sexy stuff

In health class, the kids snicker when the teacher mentions "reproductive organs," and it's clear they're looking an anatomical figure, because they start joking. Max has a crush on a classmate, and in one scene, it looks like they are about to kiss, but they don't. Scott and Jessica are classic best friends with secret feelings for each other; they end up going to a dance together. The cab driver is on a date with a woman but flirts with another.

Language

Insults like "idiot," "fool," "shut up," and "stupid."

Consumerism

No overt product placements, although some viewers may recognize a Ben Sherman shirt or a particular car model.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this kids' spy flick is definitely directed at families with elementary-aged children, so there's little objectionable in the movie. There's a bit of violence (the three kids use martial arts to kick and shove out of harm's way with two menacing adults), some mild taunts ("fool," "idiot," etc.) and some questionable decisions on the part of the kids, but otherwise, it's fine for the second-grade and up crowd. Families should know that despite their heroism, the three central children are considered rule breakers at home and trouble makers at school, but at the end of the film they prove they were right to follow their instincts.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Max Brinkley (Andrew C. Maier) is a precocious orphan who lives with his uncle Rick (William B. Davis), the CEO of a high-tech firm that has created a "super computer." After Max and his two best friends Scott (Spencer Esau), a whiz at hacking, and Jessica (Jennifer Lancheros), a martial arts wunderkind, are caught organizing a food fight, the principal orders them to do their community service working at a video-game company. There, they discover the company's executive has stolen a top-secret micro-chip from the FBI and end up apprehending him and his associate before the government agents.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Families in the market for a kid-friendly movie that's full of mild adventure may not care about the low production values and the laughable script, especially if parents don't plan to watch the movie with their children, who are much more forgiving about sub-par writing and acting. It's not terrible, but some the adult supporting characters should consider going back to acting school. They are either completely over the top (the health teacher) or soporifically monotonous (the FBI lead).

At least Davis seemed to take his role as Uncle Rick seriously, and even that relationship is unbelievable (as is the plot point that has a school principal punishing students by having them work for a private corporation). The kids are fine -- they laugh, looked worried, and get physical on cue, but they aren't the charming child actors you know are destined for a career in acting. It's obvious the movie took a long time to finish, because the end has an epilogue set three years in the future. Surprisingly, that sequence is the most entertaining of the entire movie.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why movies with kid spies so popular. What's the appeal of young characters who can hold their own against nefarious villains? Which movies in the genre are your favorite and why?

  • Is it realistic that a school principal asked Max and his friends to work for a video-game company?

  • What are some of the messages in this movie about troublemakers? How are adults portrayed? Are there any role models in the movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 24, 2005
DVD release date:March 4, 2008
Cast:Andrew C. Maier, Jennifer Lancheros, William B. Davis
Director:Robert Burke
Studio:Peace Arch Films
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Friendship
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Max Rules was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written bySaintlyFigure007 November 22, 2013
 

DONT WATCH!!!!

One if the worst films I have ever seen. An absolute disgrace to be even called a film. I have rated it not for kids but it should be not for anyone. If you want to have your eyeballs burned out of distaste, please, go ahead and watch this pathetic film.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass