‘It could’ve been worse’ may not sound like gushing praise. But when a film expands on a concept dreamed up by a production executive and his four-year-old son (really), expectations for said film naturally plummet through the floor. Still, while ‘Monster Trucks’ may be bizarre, haphazard and deeply silly, hey, it’s a movie about monsters that live in trucks. It was never going to be 'Citizen Kane'.
The creature in question – a big friendly mass of tentacles – is splurged out of an underground lake by aggressive oil drilling (topical!), only to be found by motorhead teenager Tripp (Lucas Till). So far, so ‘ET’ – only the wrinkly brown one was never employed as a replacement truck engine so Elliott could race the rich kids at school. And it only gets weirder from there.
In the plus column, the pace is speedy and the cast is solid: Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper and Danny Glover all do solid enough work that you almost forget how slappable Till is, while Rob Lowe appears to be channelling Cyril Sneer from ‘The Raccoons’ as an oily energy exec. In the minus column is, well, just about everything else: the lame jokes, the cruddy special effects and the constant, bizarre lunges for the heartstrings. The film shows every sign of having been extensively knocked about in the editing room – several characters disappear for long stretches only to pop up again for the finale, while the climactic chase seems to be over before it began. Still, if you like trucks and/or monsters and have 102 minutes with absolutely nothing better to do, give it a spin.