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Maxed Out


James D. Scurlock

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Plot Summary

Maxed Out takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. With coverage from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of “preferred customer” and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer. Hilarious, shocking and incisive, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare that is all too real for most of us.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 48
  • Fresh: 42
  • Rotten: 6
  • Average Rating: 7.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: This scattershot expose 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, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: 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, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Scurlock does well to counter the more dire aspects of the film with a razor-sharp sense of humor. – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: 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, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Must Watch Movie for Economic Meltdown

What Supersize Me did to McDonalds, this documentary movie does to the credit and collections industry. This is absolute must watch movie for anybody who has been hassled by creditors. When the dust settles, you see their marketing practices, collection techniques, and how it all plays out in real life people. I own 6 copies. I lend them out to Financial Peace University students. After people watch these movies, my shredder gets well fed with plastic credit cards.

Definitely worth the rental!

Saw this at a film festival and thought it was great. It is both enjoyable and educational. You'll be laughing one minute, awed the next, and then moved by the unfortunate stories of some of these people who got caught in their own credit crunch. If the corporate executives who ran their banks in the ground had seen this one, we may not be in the financial mess that we are in right now!


All joking aside that the distributor probably picked this film based on the assumption the filmmakers last name was really Spurlock and they had a typo on the application, this film was really just okay. There are some amazing interviews and compelling content, but unfortunately the film suffers from a number of structural defects and like many 'documentaries' these days it suffers from a lack of objectivity. There were several bizarre inserts that left me wondering what message Scurlock was attempting to convey. The prosperity preacher and a not-so-funny comedian that was clearly pulled from the web come readily to mind. Its like Scurlock was checking off his Michael Moore wannabee list. Oh, the film doesn't have any jokes, okay here's a comedian. Oh, the film isn't snarky enough, lets poke fun at religion. The filmmaker attempted to paint the radio and television financial advisors as opportunistic jerks bent on profiteering from others financial misery, without ever hinting that they may have actually helped people and makes no attempt to seek them out. In the end, the film degenerates into an incoherent mash up of loose anti-Bush clips punctuated with some comment from a pawn broker about health care and body armor, which fades to black without really concluding. It left me with the feeling of a test taker who was running out of time on his essay and just need to wrap it up quick before the bell rang.

Maxed Out
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Customer Ratings