Maxed Out (2006)



Critic Consensus: Maxed Out's presentation of startling facts and candid interviews put a human face on the issue of debt and financial insecurity.

Maxed Out Photos

Movie Info

Per its title, James D. Scurlock's virulently angry muckraking documentary Maxed Out examines the many problems associated with escalating U.S. consumer debt. Scurlock places his weightiest emphasis on the ends of the spectrum rooted in extreme evil (read: abuse) -- such as the capital lenders who wheedle poor farm families into assuming unmanageable loans and college students into placing massive amounts on credit cards. He also touches on the end rooted in extreme tragedy, such as the debtors who sink so far in over their heads that suicide represents the only conceivable out. The film's many interviewees include Harvard University financial analyst Elizabeth Warren (who pontificates on the lucrativeness of high-interest mortgage banking) and born-again Christian radio host Dave Ramsey, who offers difficult on-air advice to the fiscally burdened by drawing on his own experiences as a debtor.
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Maxed Out

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (23)

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.

Full Review… | December 4, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Do not see this film if you worry about money.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Maxed Out focuses on how much we're in hock without ever really wondering why we need to buy.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

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.

October 5, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

Maxed Out exposes the credit card sham for what it is, and fingers the hustlers who perpetuate it.

April 20, 2007
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Maxed Out

A decent effort but just feels like random interviews thrown together without exploring how people get to this point.

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

A prophetic punch in the face to the credit card system that came years before someone (Obama) stepped in and changed the rules. I loved this movie for its leanness. Its message was obvious: credit card companies prey on least fortunate of all. The film didn't need multiiple viewpoints or balance, it just presented the facts. Staggering, you have to watch this. It's on par with Michael Moore's best work.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


I thought it was really well put together and informative. My only complaint was that it didn't highlight any people that abuse credit or bankruptcy and had a very one-sided view of collection agencies as well. But this is something that everyone needs to see.

Sarah Prisbylla
Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer

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