Movie Review – Herbie: Fully Loaded

Herbie:  Fully Loaded

Directed by Angela Robinson

Starring Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon, Breckin Meyer, and Justin Long.

OK, I have a confession to make.  I was raised on Disney’s Love Bug movies, and love them to death.  I’m sure my lifelong desire to own a VW Beetle stems from it.  So, it was about three or four years ago, right when “franchise” and “branding” became the big buzz words in moviemaking, that I first heard Disney that Disney just had to make a new Herbie movie.  Fast forward to 2005, and the final product is now in multiplexes.  How does it rate compared to the originals?  Read on….

So.  Maggie Peyton (Lohan) has just finished college and is off to take on the world.  She’s just landed a job with ESPN, but what she really wants to do is go into the family business:  driving stockcars on the NASCAR circuit.  Naturally, Dad (Keaton) wants her to get a real job, thus leaving her brother (Meyer), a driver who just plain sucks, to continuously crash cars.  Anyway, as a peace offering, Dad offers to buy Maggie a car for graduation, and she just happens to pick Herbie out of a junkyard.  But, that Herbie, he’s got a mind of his own, and before you know it, Herbie has suckered Maggie into racing in street races under an assumed identity.  Herbie also sets up Maggie with her high school sweetheart, a mechanic named Kevin (Long).  Things progress, and as Maggie and Herbie rise through the ranks of street racing, they soon irk reigning NASCAR champ Trip Murphy (Dillon).  Will Maggie realize her dream of driving stock cars?  Will she beat Trip in the big race and win the heart of Kevin?  And all with the help of a magical Bug named Herbie.

I can’t look at this film objectively.  It’s just such a big nostalgia trip.  They even throw in such little geek touches as having samples of the score from the original film.  But, I’m glad to say that they didn’t feel any need to dramatically re-invent the Herbie formula.  It’s as predictable as a top-40 radio station.  But, it’ll give you what you pay for.  It’s fun for the younglings, and a nostalgia trip for all else.

2.5 Nibs