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Monster Trucks

The infinite monkey theorem proposes a statistical probability that if you sit down an unlimited number of primates at typewriters and invite them to randomly hit keys, eventually one of them will reproduce the works of Shakespeare. Chris Wedge's weird and not-so-wonderful caper could be the product of one such madcap experiment. Monster Trucks is a perplexing amalgamation of Free Willy, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and The Fast And The Furious that defies categorisation or logic. The film's gear shifts between adolescent angst, human-creature bonding and automotive carnage are jarring. In fact, the script was developed from an original story idea by the four-year-old son of a film company executive, who thought the image of a tentacle beast lurking beneath the bonnet of a car was sufficiently compelling for a family-friendly adventure with a budget in excess of 100 million US dollars. Hollywood's fools and their money are soon parted and what remains is a bamboozling, bloated botch that doesn't delivery compelling entertainment on any level. Tripp (Till) is a senior high school student, who lives with his mother Cindy (Amy Ryan) in a town where everyone relies on oil drilled by Terravex Energy. Emotionally scarred by the abandonment of his father (Frank Whaley), Tripp forgoes his classes to work at the local scrapyard, where he scours for spare parts to bolt together his own monster truck. Or as Tripp puts it: "something with four wheels that will get me out of here." A disaster at one of the Terravex drill sites unleashes three aquatic creatures, which feed on the oil. The company's Machiavellian president (Rob Lowe) and chief scientist, Dr Bill Dowd (Thomas Lennon), capture two of the critters but the third ends up in the scrapyard and befriends Tripp. The teenager discovers the tentacled oddity, which he christens Creech, likes to hide inside the shell of his truck and has the ability to power the ramshackle vehicle. When Terravex dispatches a thug called Burke (Holt McCallany) to capture and exterminate Creech, Tripp vows to protect his new friend. The student joins forces with classmates Meredith (Levy) and Sam (Tucker Albrizzi) to return all three creatures to their watery, subterranean home. Monster Trucks is a curious, souped-up hybrid of expensive parts that have been soldered together without any obvious consideration of whether the elements will work in unison. Cutesy creature design fuses an octopus with the giant worms from Tremors, and repeatedly defies the laws of physics to allow Creech and his kin to safely lie atop the chassis of moving vehicles. Actors Till and Levy are both in their mid-20s, and clearly too old to play high school students at the epicentre of this otherworldly mayhem. They share inert screen chemistry, undermining a tepid romantic subplot that is supposed to stir teenage hearts.