Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"Max" (Warner Brothers)
"Max" is a family film, and it is all about the dog. This movie follows in a long line of dog movies such as "Lassie," "A Dog of Flanders," "Old Yeller," "Rin Tin Tin" and many, many more. When you place the camera squarely on a four footed hairy creature who barks then you know chances are good you have yourself a hit.
This one has extra appeal because it is not only about a dog, it is about a hero dog that has served in the military. Max works with his assigned soldier Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell) in Afghanistan. After Kyle is killed, Max is distraught. The Marines notify Kyle's family of this situation and they take the dog home to live with them, knowing he has to go through a period of adjustment.
Kyle's younger brother Justin (Josh Wiggins) is not happy with this arrangement as he is stuck with caring for this creature. Of course it doesn't take long for him and the dog to become inseparable. Just seeing all this happen would be enough for most movies but "Max" has more on its plate. It has to bring in a group of gun-runners in the neighborhood and threats to Justin's dad, Ray (Thomas Haden Church).
All of this is a little too Lassie-like but it still keeps the audience interested. Especially since the dog is the best actor in the film. He speaks more with his eyes than most Oscar winners. All the rest of the cast are okay but each has a stereotypical part. Church is the tough but remote father; Lauren Graham is the teary but endearing mother; Luke Kleintank is the smarmy Eddie Haskell type best friend; and Mia Xitlali is the perky and daring girl friend.
The question is why did actors of this caliber want to get involved in a dog movie. Didn't they know the dog was going to get all the attention and run away with the film.Why would Lauren Graham especially follow up her run on "Parenthood" with this bland, blend in with the wallpaper role. She is too good an actress to add something like this to her resume.
The film is rated PG for mild profanity and action.
Who will enjoy this movie? Animal lovers of all ages of course. There is a good blend of action, emotion and humor to keep things moving enjoyably. "Max" is a weeper and a keeper
I scored "Max" a well trained 6 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper