Cars transforming into robots? Talking fish, toys, vehicles and emoticons? Yeah, well now we have a Hollywood family movie about a truck. With a monster hiding in it. Dumb? Hell yeah. Fun for kids and pre-teens? Hell yeah, again.
Rob Lowe’s the greedy, bad, company guy drilling for oil. When his drill hits water, he pushes on, unleashing weirdly cute, squiddy, CGI creatures. One escapes, hiding in a local junkyard, where teenager Tripp (Lucas Till) is working on building a flat-bed truck. Can you guess where the monster hides from the authorities hunting it down? Would it spoil it if I mention the film’s title?
As the token “clever” girl, Jane Levy has little to do, and as Trip’s mom, Cindy, Amy Ryan has even less. But with a plot and characters this two-dimensional, it’s all about the sight gags and car chases. Adults might get a kick out of seeing the likes of Danny Glover pop up in a movie clearly paying homage to 1980s family fare, from the likes of *batteries not included and Flight of the Navigator to Gremlins.
As the crazy Doc Brown-style scientist, Thomas Lennon adds some fun, but ultimately director Chris Wedge (Ice Age) knows his audience is young, and plays the slight, silly, and special effects laden story solidly, right up to its inevitable whizz-bang, CGI finale. I could be mean, but hell it’s a movie about a monster in a truck, and the kids around me clearly had a ball.