Herbie: Fully Loaded

At first glance, a remake of the old Herbie movies seems like an odd choice. After watching the finished product, it still seems like an odd choice. Herbie: Fully Loaded is the kind of movie that knows it is completely implausible. Yet it still goes along its merry way, and even manages to add a hint of real emotion into the mix. It barely squeaks by on its good nature, but otherwise is a pointless attempt at reviving a franchise. Director Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S.) made the odd choice of mixing in the world of NASCAR into the movie, making the long shot themes even more bizarre. Thankfully, it does not try to stretch itself longer than ninety minutes, because there really is not much substance to the film.

This is also the same Herbie who was in the old movies. So everybody has conveniently forgotten that an old Volkswagen bug somehow won all sorts of races against cars that seemed better in every conceivable fashion. Maggie Peyton (Lindsay Lohan, Mean Girls, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen) picks Herbie just as he is about to be scrapped. He is the graduation present of her father, legendary racer Ray Peyton Sr. (Michael Keaton, White Noise, First Daughter). Team Peyton is having troubles, as Maggie's brother Ray Jr. (Breckin Meyer, Garfield, Kate & Leopold) struggles to qualify for major races. Ray Sr. barred Maggie from racing for the same reasons that movie fathers always bar their daughters from doing something.

Maggie is fine with this until she meets Herbie, who wants to race. He immediately drives to a car show and humiliates Trip Murphy (Matt Dillon, Crash, City of Ghosts), the current NASCAR champion. She also reconnects with her high school friend Kevin (Justin Long, Dodgeball, How High), who happens to run an auto repair shop. He convinces a reluctant Maggie to trick out Herbie and try her hand at racing. She disguises herself by wearing a huge jumpsuit and helmet that covers her face. The story proceeds as thus: Herbie continues to win races and fans, drawing Maggie back into the world of racing. Somehow her dad will find out she is racing and which will cause a rift between the two. Murphy will do everything he can to sabotage Herbie's chances at winning, but Herbie will still win the big race (come on, it's not a secret).

Lohan is one of the few actors her age to show some promise as an actor. Herbie: Fully Loaded is not the type of film that furthers a career. It's just a family film with moderate aspirations, and it barely manages to meet them. There is a moral lesson about how it is bad to lie, and other typical lessons about friendship, trust and all that junk. It's a cute story, although if people really think about it, the story by Mark Perez (The Country Bears, Frank McClusky, C.I.), Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant (The Pacifier, Taxi), and Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Spider-Man 2, Shanghai Knights) really doesn't make sense, especially as it relates to Herbie. Well, that's not the point, so they instead write a fairly generic story. And "generic" is pretty much the best way to describe the film.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 32 minutes, Rated G.

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