Monster Trucks ★½

The story of a hunky high school senior who discovers an oil-guzzling sea beast (think “Sesame Street” meets the Kraken), and then knots its tentacles around the chassis of his custom jalopy in a perverse attempt to pimp his ride, “Monster Trucks” seems like such an impossibly stupid idea for a movie that it’s easy to forget how it derives from a rather proud history of Hollywood entertainment. After all, there have been any number of studio spectacles about a young boy, or a teenage boy, or — in this case — an obviously grown-ass man doing a hilarious job of pretending to be a teenage boy — whose frustrated small town existence is turned upside down when he befriends a strange and unexpectedly sweet creature that teaches him about growing up or whatever. “Monster Trucks,” however aimless and confused it may be, rolls down a road paved by verified hits like “E.T.,” “Free Willy,” and last year’s excellent “Pete’s Dragon.”

But there’s one key thing that sets “Monster Trucks” apart; one major difference in its design that many viewers may never know, but most will nevertheless be able to feel in their bones. You see, while all of the movies mentioned above were meant to be enjoyed by four-year-olds, “Monster Trucks” was initially conceived by one.