Why ''Max Keeble's Big Move'' is a gamble
You know you’re on the set of a kid’s flick when a production assistant carefully puts Doritos Nacho Cheesier chips inside his turkey sandwich.
On this warm May afternoon in a junkyard in downtown Los Angeles, there are a few other clues that ”Max Keeble’s Big Move” will be a field day for the afterschool snack set. For one, the props department is prepping 1,100 gallons of fake chocolate stuff to spill out of an upturned ice cream truck onto ”Keeble”’s unsuspecting bullies. (Think: Nickelodeon’s infamous slime.)
”This is the biggest set piece of the movie,” says producer Mike Karz as he watches the brightly painted truck dangle from a crane. The story follows seventh grader Max Keeble (”Home Alone 3”’s Alex Linz), who’s on a mission to settle the score with his tormentors. Max’s motivation? His dad just got a transfer and the Keebles are leaving town. That explains the light brown goop about to cascade down on Dobbs (Orlando Brown) and the Evil Ice Cream Man (Jamie Kennedy) — and a bevy of other practical jokes that speed the plot along.
”We’ve got enough [fake ice cream] for three 400-gallon drops,” adds Karz as he studies the set-up. In reality, Karz — who’s produced a handful of TV’s ”Wonderful World of Disney” movies — has been preparing to do this shot for more than half of Alex Linz’s 12-year-old lifetime. Karz first shopped around an early version of the script back in the 1990s. Eight years and several revisions later, he finally got the greenlight from Buena Vista Pictures. ”There’s been a reshuffling of the executive team at Disney [Buena Vista’s parent company],” says Karz. ”The guys running the place now are much more open to do family-oriented, kid-driven movies than they were a couple of years ago.”