Just spin­ning its wheels

Mon­ster Trucks like Fast & Fu­ri­ous with­out the Fu­ri­ous

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - ENTERTAINMENT - Chris Knight

Look un­der the hood of this wellmean­ing fam­ily ve­hi­cle and you’ll find quite a bit of act­ing horse­power in the form of Barry Pep­per, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan and Rob Lowe. Un­for­tu­nately, they all take a rather crowded back seat to the lesser known Lu­cas Till and Jane Levy, and to a com­puter-gen­er­ated mon­ster than looks like a mix of Slimer from Ghost­busters, How to Train Your Dragon’s Tooth­less and a jumbo Jell-o dessert plate.

Till and Levy play Tripp and Mered­ith, two of the most weath­ered se­niors this side of Grease’s Ry­dell High. (They were 23 and 24, re­spec­tively, when this was shot three years ago. It hasn’t aged well, ei­ther.) Tripp longs to put to­gether a great set of wheels out of parts he scrounges from the junk­yard where he works af­ter school. Mered­ith longs for Tripp. No rule that says this has to be com­pli­cated.

The plot gets rolling when an evil oil com­pany called Ter­ravex un­cov­ers some­thing large and alive in an un­der­ground pocket of wa­ter near Tripp’s home. Two of the squishy beast­ies are cap­tured and stud­ied by a sci­en­tist (Thomas Len­non) who clearly isn’t as evil as his boss (Lowe). The third finds its way to the junk­yard, where Tripp be­friends it and then im­pris­ons it in the chas­sis of his pickup truck.

This isn’t as bad as it might sound. The crea­ture — Tripp, in a burst of cre­ativ­ity to ri­val that of the film’s four screen­writ­ers, names it Creech — does seem to en­joy life as an en­gine block. (It also eats oil.) And its new-found mo­bil­ity helps it stay ahead of the oil com­pany’s se­cu­rity team, led by Holt Mc­callany. They aim to kill this new life form so Ter­ravex can keep on drilling.

There isn’t much for par­ents to do other than count how many times a par­tic­u­lar brand of pickup prod­uct-places it­self be­fore our eyes. And while the very young may get a kick out of the im­pos­si­ble stunts per­formed by the mon­ster/truck combo, the film is at least 15 min­utes too long for kids. (Said one bored and savvy nine-year-old critic: “It was like Fast & Fu­ri­ous, only not fu­ri­ous at all.”)

And those act­ing lu­mi­nar­ies I men­tioned? Glover has two brief scenes as the wheelchair-bound owner of the junk­yard; Ryan is there and gone as Tripp’s mom; and Pep­per plays the boy’s step­dad and the town sher­iff. Lov­ingly shot by di­rec­tor Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Epic), Creech gets more to do than any of the film’s hu­man stars, who might as well be spin­ning their wheels.

Handout Photo

Tucker Al­brizzi plays Sam Gel­don, Danny Glover plays Mr. Weath­ers, Jane Levy plays Mered­ith and Lu­cas Till plays Tripp in Mon­ster Trucks.

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