Maxed Out

With sobering facts and black humor, this thought-provoking documentary unveils the consequences of our collective addiction to debt -- including its contribution to the vanishing act of a once-robust American middle class. Investigating both Americans' personal debt and the government's growing national debt, the film explores the staggering financial burden we live with every day and sheds light on the contemporary financial industry.
Netflix Rating: 3.5
Rotten Tomatoes® Scores
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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This muckraking documentary on America's personal-debt crisis lays bare the predatory practices of credit card companies and the Bush administration's cozy relationship with the financial services industry.
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader  full review
Maxed Out focuses on how much we're in hock without ever really wondering why we need to buy.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe  full review
This scattershot exposé of usurious banking practices examines why the most vulnerable segment of society is victimized by the lending industry and finds a simple answer: It's obscenely profitable.
Stephen Holden, New York Times
Maxed Out exposes the credit card sham for what it is, and fingers the hustlers who perpetuate it.
Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press  full review
To maximize your return on this useful report, sit through the end credits where Spurlock deposits some of his best material.
Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times  full review
Maxed Out doesn't really offer solutions, probably because there are none. But it does a great job of showing how the rich get richer and the poor foot the bill, plus interest.
Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper
If your outrage glands need a workout, be sure to see Maxed Out, a muckraking, emotionally powerful, wickedly entertaining documentary on the dreary-sounding topic of consumer debt.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Maxed Out, while occasionally muddled in its financial details, presents a more-accurate-than-not vision of a nation that is starting to look like a candidate for rehab, on both an individual and a national level, for its addiction to debt.
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly  full review
While the documentary does a credible job of pointing out the magnitude of the problem, it skirts the issue of what can be done about it and by whom.
Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle  full review
All the film provides is this bulletin: Lefties are angry about the things Lefties are angry about, chiefly corporate profits.
Kyle Smith, New York Post  full review
James Scurlock's often riveting documentary is likely to leave you outraged over the manipulative greed of America's banks and credit card firms.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News  full review
James Scurlock's documentary serves up cautionary tales of epic abuse, though the overall tone is faux cheerful and sometimes genuinely entertaining, especially in the use of clips from an old educational film that looks too fatuous to be faux.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal  full review
Scurlock does well to counter the more dire aspects of the film with a razor-sharp sense of humor.
Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times  full review
A film all high school seniors should see. And their parents. And their siblings, neighbors, best friends and acquaintances. You should see it, too.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post  full review
James Scurlock's Maxed Out takes a long-overdue swipe at the shamelessly predatory tactics of the credit-card and home-mortgage industries, which are feeding on the most economically vulnerable members of our society.
Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
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  • Release Year: 2006
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Runtime: 87 min
  • Available From: Dec 20, 2008
  • Queued by: 288 people
Directed By
James D. Scurlock

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