Herbie: Fully Loaded


Directed by: Gordon Buford
Written by:Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon,  Breckin Meyer, Justin Long, Cheryl Hines
Released: June 23, 2005
Grade: C+

Some stories do not age well.  In 1968, we were first introduced to Herbie in The Love Bug.  Sequels followed in 1974 and 1977.   They epitomise Disney’s definition of “family entertainment” and I dare you to find a more G-rated flick.  Today though, kids (and adults) want more.  We want films more films like The Incredibles!

As the film begins, Herbie can be found at the scrap yard, destined for destruction.  With all his successes, I’m not sure how he got here but let’s skip the reality check.  Anyway, a young college graduate named Maggie (Lohan) picks the rusted Volkswagon bug to be a cheap car to get her through the summer.

Lo and behold, Maggie also happens to be a wanna-be racing car driver and is the daughter of Ray Peyton (Keaton), the owner of NASCAR racing team.  When the speedy Herbie helps her defeat star driver Trip Murphy (Dillon) in a one-on-one competition, the spotlight falls on Maggie and the wheels are set in motion.  Oh and yes, there’s a love interest – an old school friend named Kevin (Long), who pops into Maggie’s life unexpectedly as a valuable mechanic.

This is weak, weak, weak material.  The only thing holding it all together is a thin slip of film.  The story ain’t doing anything to help.  After a drawn-out introduction which reintroduces to Herbie, we float for another half-hour watching Maggie trip over her own heels.  Something finally happens at the very end but the climactic race is sheer nonsense.  Kids over the age of 8 will not be entertained.

The most interesting thing I can tell you about this film is the reaction it received from test audiences in America.  Parents believed that Ms Lohan was showing way too much cleavage for a Disney film!  Computer technicians then digitally reduced her breast size and raised the neckline on a few of her tops.  You just have to laugh.

Before I depart though, can someone explain something for me?  Herbie has a love-interest this time – a yellow Beetle.  What is it that two cars do for “fun”?