MON­STER TRUCKS

★★★★★ FROM APRIL 12 / DI­REC­TOR Chris Wedge / CAST Lu­cas Till, Jane Levy, Barry Pep­per, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan Crea­ture fea­ture

Empire (Australasia) - - Re.view -

TRIPP (LU­CAS TILL,

TV’S new Mac­gyver) is a self-im­posed out­sider who can’t wait to move away from his small town. But when a frack­ing com­pany punches into an aquifer, re­leas­ing pre­vi­ously un­known crea­tures, Tripp must team up with other school mis­fits to save the un­der­ground ecosys­tem. There’s noth­ing wrong with at­tempt­ing to make a mod­ern ver­sion of a 1980s Am­blin movie, but this is off-tar­get. Mon­ster Trucks is ba­si­cally ET The Ex­tra Ter­res­trial if ET was a gi­ant squid, and El­liott was an ass­hole. Tripp is about 50 per cent too douchebaggy — sure, you want your main char­ac­ter to have an arc, but he’s sim­ply aw­ful to ev­ery­one, all the time — to the point where it’s sim­ply hard to care about him. Run­ning up tabs on other peo­ple’s credit cards, smash­ing other peo­ple’s cars, ig­nor­ing his friends when they speak — most of the time, he’s more un­lik­able than the ac­tual bad guys. Creech — the ET of the piece — is like­able enough when he’s vis­i­ble, but he spends most of his time cooped up in­side a truck. It feels less like Tripp and Creech are friends, and more like Tripp is a re­ally lousy pet owner — the kind of guy who leaves his dog in the car while he goes to the pub.

But the car chases are fun, and Barry Pep­per is a hoot as the anal-re­ten­tive sher­iff/father-fig­ure. Un­like Spiel­berg’s deft all-ages touch, Mon­ster Trucks is strictly for the young’uns, but they’ll prob­a­bly love it. TIM KEEN

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