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Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

Herbie the Love Bug

He’s back!

Directed by:

Angela Robinson

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 101 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: U

Country: United States

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’ is possibly the best ‘Herbie’ flick there’s been. The bad news is that, given how awful all of the others were, the good news really isn’t saying much.

As kids, we all suffered the experience of having to sit through those horrendous ‘Love Bug’ movies of the 60s and 70s at one point or another. In fact, during the 80s, it seemed no school holiday was allowed to reach its completion without yet another tiresome re-showing of Dean Jones jittering around in the attention-seeking Volkswagon Beetle of the title. It was enough to have kiddy-winks the length and breadth of the country longing to be cooped up in double maths.

Still, for some reason (namely a lack of ideas that they don’t even bother trying to hide any more), Disney have seen fit to revive the bubble-shaped little sod. And the Herbster, it has to be said, has aged remarkably well, given it takes only one quick fix-up montage to have him looking as good as new. The same can’t be said though of good ol’ Mr Jones, who’s been replaced by a distinctly more shapely model in the form of Lindsay Lohan.

Personnel changes aside, it’s a familiar story. Maggie Peyton (Lohan) finds the poor little fellah in a scrap yard, turns him into a credible force on the stock car racing circuit, and makes herself a cartoonish arch-nemesis (Matt Dillon) in the process. She also has a nicey-nicey love interest (Justin Long), a gormless brother (Breckin Meyer) and a dad (Michael Keaton) who’s over-protective as a result of something that apparently happened in the dim and distant past to her mother. Seriously, it must have taken all of half an hour to write this stuff.

It’s all perfectly harmless of course, and with little else of significant note currently offering itself up as big screen entertainment for the kiddies, it’s as safe a bet as any. As an adult though, the nicest thing I can think of to say about it is that I managed to sit through it without dozing off. That in itself gives it a 1-0 lead over the originals.

It's Got: Michael Keaton stopping just short of screaming “Where did it all go wrong?!” at the camera.

It Needs: To be clamped.

Alternatives:

Herbie Goes Bananas, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Rides Again, The Love Bug

Summary

A needless addition to a franchise that should have stayed right where it was: the scrap yard.

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