Especially one that comes with no long tail of name recognition to support it.
Monster Trucks comes out of nowhere. It isn't based on some beloved TV show of the 1990s, it isn't inspired by a successful series of books or comics and it isn't a remake of some dimly-remembered classic of the 1970s.
It is, in fact, that exact thing the online commentators and the bores at the bar are always asking for: an original story, based on nothing but someone's new and untested feat of imagination.
Naturally, it's pretty damned awful.
Monster Trucks is set in a small town where nothing much seems to happen until an oil company, personified by Rob Lowe who looks more like a wax model of himself with every passing year – decides it might have found black gold.
A drill is sunk, and out of the depths come three very large and very CGI beasties. One of them takes a liking for local teenager Tripp (Lucas Till) and his engineless pickup truck.
And before you can say "sounds like every boy-and-his-pet film ever made", Tripp, his friend Meredith (Jane Levy, from Don't Breathe) and sundry other cameo actors: Danny Glover, Barry Pepper and Amy Ryan, are all running around in a knockabout hybrid of Cars and Pete's Dragon with a side-order of ET. All of which sounds OK.
But Monster Trucks falls flat, and fast. The CGI looks terrible, the script runs out of interesting things for anyone to do or say very quickly and director Chris Wedge, who is responsible for the Ice Age franchise, doesn't seem to have much idea of what to do with any character who isn't made of pixels.
If you're in charge of a couple of very young nippers these holidays, they might like it. But Monster Trucks is not one of those kids' films that the grown-ups are going to find things to love about as well.
This one is for the most easily pleased and distractible members of the family. - Stuff