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Review: 'Monsters at Large' is a big hit with the younger set

Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 5:19 PM Central
Last updated Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 5:20 PM Central

by John Couture

When you have kids it is inevitable that you will get a healthy dose of children's programming whether you want it or not. Thankfully, I had my kids at an age where I was able to avoid both Barney and the Teletubbies. But don't even get me started on Paw Patrol.

While most of their entertainment options are background noise while I bury my nose in my phone, every now and then there will be something that catches my attention. Monsters at Large is one such worthy option.

My kids are really in Ghostbusters these days, so when I quickly read the synopsis of Monsters at Large, I figured they would be hooked. I was prepared to heartily roll my eyes as the film trounced upon the classics from my younger days. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that Monsters at Large truly does earn the moniker "entertainment for the whole family."

A group of kids decides to form the "Monster Busters" with the intent of banishing monsters under the bed and in the closets of the younger kids in the neighborhood. The business takes off and before long, they have turned "Monster Busters" into a successful venture. When a real monster shows up, the "Monster Busters" have to band together to save the neighborhood and live up their name.

As you would expect, the film borrows heavily from a plethora of 1980s films including The Goonies and the aforementioned Ghostbusters, but I thought that the film it really reminded me of was Kidco. Like Monsters at Large, the kids in Kidco create a successful business and learn many life lessons along the way. Of course, the two films diverge quite a bit, but I remember feeling nostalgic for the old Scott Schwartz film as I watched Monsters at Large.

Monsters at Large is a film that is geared towards kids and my children seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. Not only did they enjoy the silly monster sequences, but they seemed to realize that they were copying the older Ghostbusters film and my heart was filled with joy in that they are starting to pick up on cultural references in movies.

Of course, my son Gavin also found a ridiculous amount of joy in the fact that one of the main characters was also named Gavin. He kept saying that his name was Gavin just like him. It's the little things when you have kids.

One odd/interesting thing that parents will notice in the film is that Mischa Barton plays the mom which leads to so many questions. When did she become old enough to play the mom character? What has she been doing in the last decade or so? And finally, is this the start of a comeback or the last rung on the ladder of fleeting fame?

But those questions can keep for another day. The more pressing issue at hand is whether my kids enjoyed the film. It is safe to say by the number of times that I have now watched it, the answer is yes. It is a fun watch with your younger children and while the special effects aren't the best, that's not really the point and their shortcomings are easy to overlook.

Monsters at Large is now available on DVD.