Maxed Out

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 47


Audience Score

User Ratings: 74,397
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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.

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Critic Reviews for Maxed Out

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (22)

  • 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.

    Dec 4, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Do not see this film if you worry about money.

    Oct 6, 2007 | Rating: 4/6 | Full Review…
  • Maxed Out focuses on how much we're in hock without ever really wondering why we need to buy.

    Oct 6, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    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.

    Oct 6, 2007 | Rating: 3/5
  • Maxed Out exposes the credit card sham for what it is, and fingers the hustlers who perpetuate it.

    Apr 20, 2007 | Rating: 3/4
  • To maximize your return on this useful report, sit through the end credits where Spurlock deposits some of his best material.

    Mar 23, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Maxed Out

  • Sep 10, 2012
    A decent effort but just feels like random interviews thrown together without exploring how people get to this point.
    Sunil J Super Reviewer
  • Nov 26, 2011
    Donna and I are re-watching this five years after we first saw it. It's still highly relevant today and is a excellent teaching documentary on avoiding the predatory claws of credit cards and learning how the country has been victimized by the banks
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 01, 2011
    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 P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2009
    Depressing doc that helps explain some of America's massive debt problems.
    Wu C Super Reviewer

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