HERBIE: FULLY LOADED
*** (out of 5)
June 22, 2005
Lindsay Lohan as MAGGIE PEYTON
Michael Keaton as RAY PEYTON, SR.
Matt Dillon as TRIP MURPHY
Breckin Meyer as RAY PEYTON, JR.
Justin Long as KEVIN
Cheryl Hines as SALLY
Directed by: Angela Robinson
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Herbie the Love Bug is one of those characters from my childhood that I always loved. He wasn’t hugely influential on my life, but I’ll always remember Herbie. What’s funny is that after I saw the film, I checked out the loveable car on IMDb and realized he had only made a handful of films. Disney tried to revitalize his career on television a few years ago, but no one seemed to notice.
Oddly enough, when Herbie made his big screen debut in “The Love Bug,” he was not considered an old car. He was simply a cute, contemporary VW. By the time they were making “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” and “Herbie Goes Bananas,” he had become a classic car along with a classic character.
In short, I’ve always liked Herbie. So, with this in mind, you can understand why I have a soft spot in my heart for the new Herbie movie.
“Herbie: Fully Loaded” is directed by Angela Robinson, who most recently gave us “D.E.B.S.,” a lesbian spoof of “Charlie’s Angels.” I’m a big fan of Robinson’s original short film, and I haven’t had a chance yet to check out the feature version. There is a clearly a “D.E.B.S.” influence in the filmmaking (with the directing style, rather than the content, for those who might be worried), with a lot of flashy imagery and retro animation. Robinson was a great choice for this, and my only regret for her is that she got saddled with Lindsay Lohan at the tail end of her “wholesome” career.
The biggest problem with “Herbie: Fully Loaded” is that they don’t focus enough on Herbie. In the past, actors like Buddy Hackett and Dean Jones managed to play second fiddle to a ’68 VW bug. Not so much with Lindsay Lohan. She is an actor that needs the movie to be a vehicle rather than the movie being about a vehicle.
Lohan is a glutton for screen time, and she doesn’t even try too hard in this film. Instead of honestly trying to make a good film, she just seems to be gritting her teeth while she finishes out her commitments with Disney. Mark my words, a Penthouse pictorial is not too far for this girl’s future.
With a partying reputation to rival Paris Hilton, Lohan is a speed bump for this movie. When she was younger, making films like “The Parent Trap,” she was cute. Even her “Freaky Friday” remake gave her a chance to shine opposite Jamie Lee Curtis. However, now she’s easily the most over-exposed celebrity of the year.
I have to laugh at a comment I saw in my local Channel Guide – that when Tara Reid has to distance herself from your partying, there’s a problem. Sure, “Herbie: Fully Loaded” is a great little family film, parents are going to want to think twice about presenting this off-screen wild child as a potential role model.
Here’s my theory… Lindsay Lohan actually died several months ago in a late-night partying incident a la River Phoenix. In order to not affect her current projects, she’s been replaced by a sophisticated robot. How else can you explain the fact that now she currently looks NOTHING like she does in her films.
Unfortunately, not only has Lohan stole most of the thunder from this movie, but she’s also stole most of the ink from this review. That’s just the kind of actor she is, which is why she’s not a favorite in my book.
The other actors do a decent job, although Michael Keaton’s gotta be kicking himself for bailing from the Batman franchise years ago. The best of the cast is actually Matt Dillon who continues to impress in an off-key villainous role. Think of his character from “There’s Something About Mary,” and you’ve got a launching point for the role he plays as rival racer Trip Murphy.
Still, you’ve gotta love Herbie. He’s got more longevity than Lindsay Lohan ever will, and that’s a relief. Maybe a better Herbie movie will be coming down the road in a few more years.