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Movie Review: Monster Trucks (2017)

Monster Trucks is not so much about monster trucks (like lower-class, poverty-stricken white people living in trailer parks tend to admire), as it is about monsters living inside of trucks to make them run.

These octopi/dolphin-like creatures consume motor oil for sustenance, and for some reason, have the ability, kind of like a superpower, to apply torque to human wheels to make them go fast. Now if that sort of plot holds interest for you, then hey, go for it. I won't judge, I promise.

Through a drilling accident, two of these creatures end up captured by an oil company, and one of them winds up in the shop of a high school student named "Tripp" (Lucas Till). After an initial scare, the two get along quite well, as do he and "Meredith" (Jane Levy), a girl who absolutely insists on studying biology with Tripp, even though he shows no interest at all in her...or biology. Tripp shows equally little interest in a kid who wants to befriend him to hang out, "Sam" (Tucker Albrizzi). Sam is that sort of chubby kid that you just automatically know has to end up being the fun sidekick in a movie. You just know it. 

The evil oil company (did you even doubt for a second that they'd be portrayed to us as evil?) is Terravex. It is run by the openly villainous sort of clowns you'd expect to see in a Disney flick. Their leader is "Reece Tenneson" (Rob Lowe). He's almost as evil as his partner who does the actual dirty work, "Burke" (Holt McCallany). They are working with a scientist with at least a little more of a heart toward environmental causes, "Jim" (Thomas Lennon). Jim is nerdy, but lovable. 

Now one thing should be made clear about Monster Trucks: the movie is nicely paced and does a superb job of introducing and building up its characters. When it errs greatly in relying on juvenile-aged slapstick and the by-now-expected over-utilization of family themes, our level of interest tends to grow when you would suspect it would get harder to watch the further in you tread. Not so. The plot is the problem here. Did I mention that these undiscovered sea creatures really like using cheap gaffs and comedy gags to break up any seriously tense dramatic moments? 

In conclusion, I am compelled to admit that even silliness like this will have its admirers. But then again, maybe I'm just getting old.


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