Starring: Josh Wiggins, Thomas Haden Church, Lauren Graham, Luke Kleintank, Robbie Amell, Mia Xitali, Dejon LaQuake, Jay Hernandez
Directed By: Boaz Yakin
If your son is investigating arms dealers in real life… he’s probably going to die.
If he’s the protagonist in Max, he’ll somehow thwart them with the help of his spunky sidekicks and his dog.
I think Max has a purpose in life, being that it’s a film that celebrates men who put their lives on the line in the armed forces. I think it’s a great film for kids to watch who understand the kind of situation that our main kid, Justin (Wiggins) is in. They have a parent overseas, or maybe lost a parent overseas, and this kind of soft tribute might be the right film for them. It’s meant a little more for an age group that is on the verge of wanting to see only movies like Terminator Genisys and Jurassic World. 8-12 years old. That’s the target demo here. Little kids will get lost by the dramatic heft the film tries to carry, and older kids will be bored by the lack of inactivity. It’s not a very action packed film. It moves a little slow. Kids in my theatre were getting tired of sitting halfway through the film.
I even found myself getting bored halfway through, and wanting the film to wrap up quicker. I think the acting bugged me a lot. I don’t see any star potential in Josh Wiggins. I wished that they had swapped him out for Nick Robinson, who has much more charisma, and knows how to be moody without just kinda looking uninterested in the whole thing. We have to be able to at least sort of relate to our protagonist and kinda like him. I didn’t relate or like him. I liked Max though. I liked Josh’s supporting tweens, Xitali and LaQuake too. I think they’re both decent child actors.
Max also lacks the kind of brevity that other dog pictures have had, like Marley and Me, where you really love the dog, and you love the relationship between the dog and the humans, and if something happens to the dog you’re emotionally invested. I couldn’t feel that with Max, even though I thought the dog was awesome. There was no emotional connection for me.
Even on a “kid flick” level, this is no Homeward Bound. Director Boaz Yakin hasn’t had a good film since Remember The Titans. Boaz needs to get his groove back.
If you’re looking for something to do with your kids this summer, see Inside Out. It’s a way better movie. Max is definitely something that can wait for home video. This is definitely the inferior of the two “Max” films this summer.
FINAL GRADE: C