a critiQal film review Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: Maggie Peyton (Lohan) comes from a long line of racecar drivers. After a bad accident a few years back, however, she's given up racing. That is, until she meets Herbie, a '63 VW Bug with a mind of it's own. Now, thanks to Herbie, Maggie is about to get back into racing again...whether she or her father (Keaton) wants her to or not.

572 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 51s)
  • ...does a great job of giving Herbie the Love Bug some new life - unfortunately, the same can't be said for it's human cast.

While we were at our local Blockbuster® the other day, we noticed Herbie: Fully Loaded had hit the shelves. We had both thought the movie looked cute, so we decided to rent it. I was interested to see if they would be able to revive this little bug and bring it back into the limelight – without losing any of it’s old charm. Thankfully, they were able to do just that. Unfortunately, this Herbie film is aimed at a somewhat younger audience.

Lindsay Lohan seems to be a big star with kids, and that’s about it. Her peppy music personifies her in the eyes of the public – a teeny-bopper with a huge kid following – but not too much going for Lohan for anyone over the age of, say, 14. The roles she picks tends to back this up, as she tends to pick mostly kid-oriented “family” films. While it would be nice to see her in something a bit more difficult, she does seem very much at ease in these kid films by this point…and that’s true of Herbie: Fully Loaded too.

Herbie: Fully Loaded is probably her most publicized movie to date, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean she steps up the acting any. She does a decent job reacting to Herbie, and her looks get her a long way on-screen, but it doesn’t really seem like there’s much beneath that outer fluff. In Herbie, thankfully, there doesn’t need to be, as Herbie does his best to steal as many scenes as possible.

The special effects are impressive in Herbie: Fully Loaded. The filmmakers have done an excellent job of bringing Herbie back to life. He’s got his own mannerisms, his own way of expressing emotions, and all of them are done realistically enough the viewer will be able to let their imagination believe Herbie is actually alive (anyone remember Johnny from Short Circuit? Same deal). Aside from his mannerisms, they also throw in some fun stunts that update Herbie for this film.

Taking a cue from Maggie’s penchant for skateboarding, Herbie decides he wants to go skater in Fully Loaded, and pulls it off with style. He starts with small stuff, but eventually gets up to rail grinding and barrel rolling. It’s fun to watch Herbie perform his tricks, and the special effects apartment does a great job of making them all as believable as possible.

The only real downfall of the film comes in terms of the love connection that these type of films always go for. Watching Herbie is easily the best part of Herbie: Fully Loaded, and throwing in the love connection pulls viewers away just when they want to see more Herbie. Of course, if the stars made the love connection look realistic, that may work, but they don’t even seem to try that here. The banter between Lohan and Long seems forced and uncomfortable through most of their scenes, so when they finally do live happily ever after, it’s ridiculous.

Apart from the aforementioned “love connection”, Herbie: Fully Loaded does a great job of bringing ol’ lovable Herbie back to life. Unfortunately, with teen sensation Lindsay Lohan as it’s star, most adults won’t even think twice about seeing it. Herbie’s antics make it a decent movie to watch if you’ve got kids. They’ll probably love it, and you’ll think it’s funny enough that it won’t be a waste of an hour and a half.

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