All kids like their puppies and kittens (indeed, one of the trailers before the film being reviewed was for a movie about a baby jealous of how cute puppies are), but the pets kids are most interested in are the ones they can’t have. Kids want to keep unicorns, gryphons, aliens and monsters in home, despite (or maybe even because of) the fact they don’t exist. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to discover that Monster Trucks was inspired by the four-year-old son of former Paramount president Adam Goodman. Thus it is no surprise that the film is a rather childish one.
Teenaged Tripp (Lucas Till) makes an unlikely friend in a squid-like monster pulled up onto the earth by an oil drilling company, who he affectionately names “Creech”. He also hides the creature inside a monster truck, hence the title, and along with his biology partner Meredith (Jane Levy), tries to reunite Creech with his parents and help it find its home.
Monster Trucks breaks no new ground in the “kid finds weird creature who becomes his pet/friend” genre. Kid has problems involving his family, meets monster, protects monster from evil corporate types, has teary goodbye with monster but gets the girl. The plot is as formulaic as they come, and every point could even be easily predicated by members of its target audience.
The leads aren’t that interesting, but if kids come to this movie, it’s to see the monster, who fares better. Creech has a nice little design, blending both cute and creepy, and it blends into the world well. It might remind one of a pet dog – playful and energetic yet with a sense of intelligence – or even a bit of Universal’s Frankenstein, even including a couple of “fire bad” moments. In some scenes, it is downright adorable despite its slimy exterior. It, however, is not worth going out of your way to see the movie for.
Children may find enjoyment in this movie, but are likely to forget it almost as quickly as their parents will. Some moments are cute and fun, but there’s little really interesting.