I should have known what I was getting into when not one of my three kids would agree to go with me to see “Monster Trucks.” So off I went, with my wife beside me, to a theater that was not only almost full, but it was almost full of kids…little kids. I’m talking 3 to 6 in age. So of course there was a lot of noise, spilled popcorn and people going in and out of the theater.
All that and a wife who may not let me pick a movie ever again.
To be honest, I think I was more excited about “The Lego Batman Movie” trailer than I was about “Monster Trucks.” You can trust that come Feb. 10 we’ll be talking about that one.
The main character in “Monster Trucks” is Tripp, played by Lucas Till. I’ve heard his name a lot the past few years but he really caught my attention a few months ago as the new MacGyver in the ABC reboot of the same name. He’s pretty good there and I have enjoyed that show each and every week. So he was my “in” for this movie.
About 20 minutes in I was asking myself why I picked “Monster Trucks,” and I bet he was, too. There were more than a few scenes where Till looked like he was second-guessing taking this role. Truly, the character that looked the happiest to be onscreen was the CGI monster.
Even big name talent like Danny Glover and Rob Lowe couldn’t make this more interesting. Lowe as the bad guy sounds better on paper than in execution. He doesn’t over do it; instead he’s a little underwhelming. Glover seems to be having fun with his character, who might only be there to hit us over the head with symbolism and a plot point. But I guess someone has to like what he or she is doing.
There was a female character/love interest for Tripp, but she was so forgettable that I barely remember her at all.
Till’s character kept getting put into danger or dramatic situations. I never felt like he was in danger or that anything bad would happen to him, or the monster. This was a PG movie, and they made sure to take zero chances with those characters.
From a storytelling standpoint I found it difficult to get into the movie when I felt there were no stakes. I assume that’s because this movie was made for the 5-year-olds around me. And there’s the crux of the problem.
“Monster Trucks” is a movie for toddlers disguised as a fun movie for everyone. PG stands for parental guidance suggested. Really it should say, “No parents needed.” For the over-5 crowd, it’s a not recommend.
1 out of 5 stars
“Monster Trucks” is rated PG for action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor and has a running time of 122 minutes.