• by Wes Singleton

Monster Trucks, D

Rated PG, 104 minutes

The new movie "Monster Trucks" is one of the strangest family films I've seen in some time. This $125 million disaster from Nickelodeon and Paramount, filmed in 2014 and just now getting a wide release, is about a lovable octopus thing that inhabits an old truck, thus making it a real, monster truck. It's not only one of the oddest films I've seen - family or otherwise - it's also destined for the cinematic junk yard and will all but be forgotten in a week or two.

Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Lucas Till), a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend.

Directed by Chris Wedge ("Epic") and written by "Safety Not Guaranteed's" Derek Connolly, the bizarre, dumb "Monster Trucks" is such an oddity, it begs the question, what exactly was Connolly smoking when he wrote the script, that is, if his original script bears any resemblance to the finished product. The CGI visuals are cheap, the gags are just ludicrous, and it wastes a terrific cast, including Till, Jane Levy ("Don't Breathe"), Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper, Frank Whaley and in an inexplicable cameo, Danny Glover.

The dumb, bizarre premise is akin to such terrible shows as "Knight Rider" or "My Mother the Car" (some of you millennials may not get that latter reference) where the humans are so dumb that can't see what's really underneath the vehicle, in this case a giddy, lovable and energetic octopus with some sort of special powers that's being hunted by a big oil company run by Lowe, who is also wasted.

Any statements about big corporations or reconnecting with family are lost on the young ones, who might be entertained for a minute or two. Much like new toys that toddlers receive, "Monster Trucks" will be enjoyed briefly, then they'll put aside and move on to something else. The best part is when it's all over, so my recommendation is to stay away and see the much more fulfilling "Sing" or "Moana" if you need something to take the family to.

#monstertrucks #lucastill #chriswedge