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Herbie: Fully Loaded

Bugs have never looked so chic

Everyone's favorite VW Bug is back with a vengeance in Herbie: Fully Loaded. Volkswagen executives must be ecstatic. Often advertised as cute and cuddly, the VW Bug truly has personality to burn in this long overdue continuation of the Herbie saga. Along for the ride this time is the equally cute and cuddly Lindsay Lohan as Herbie's latest driver, Maggie Peyton. Cue the classic VW Bug craze.

The Peytons have a long and illustrious history as NASCAR racecar drivers. However, they have fallen on hard times as Maggie's brother, Ray (Breckin Meyer) appears to lack the Peyton genetic hard wiring for racing. With sponsors dropping the Peytons left and right, things are getting desperate.

As everyone knows, when the going gets tough, you can always count on a certain precocious VW Bug to get you out of a tight jam. Destined for the scrap heap, Herbie insinuates himself into Maggie's life and changes everything. An aspiring racer herself, Maggie rediscovers her love for the sport with the endearing bug as her steed. Thus, the stage is set for Maggie and Herbie to rescue the Peyton racing legacy.

You can see where this film is going within the first ten minutes, but the story lacks significant holes (provided you can swallow the idea of a virtually invincible VW Bug with more spunk than most people you encounter) and director Angela Robinson manages to keep the audience amused for most of the running time of this light hearted gem. Some of the most amusing moments in the film involve Herbie's continued lusting for a beautiful yellow and black VW New Beetle. Who knew Herbie had a libido?

Robinson did an excellent job casting Herbie: Fully Loaded. Lohan is spot on as the effervescent Maggie. Michael Keaton ably handles the role of Maggie's overprotective dad, Ray Peyton Sr. However, the best performance is put forth by Matt Dillon as Maggie's racing nemesis, Trip Murphy. Murphy is an egomaniacal heel and Dillon clearly relishes playing the dastardly Trip. Dillon's performance is vaguely reminiscent of his hilarious turn in There's Something About Mary. Granted, the story doesn't grant any of the primary cast much to work with, but the real star here is a car.

There's nothing about Herbie: Fully Loaded that is transcendent, but the film does a solid job on just about every level and manages to entertain both kids who have never heard of Herbie and the nostalgic parents who will likely accompany them. This is a film that will likely be overlooked with the onslaught of huge summer blockbusters, but chances are that few will entertain as consistently as Herbie: Fully Loaded.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars