Maggie Peyton is the new owner of Number 53--the free wheelin' Volkswagen bug with a mind of its own; she puts the car through its paces on the road to becoming a NASCAR competitor. As a third generation member of a NASCAR family, racing is in Maggie Peyton's blood, but she is forbidden from pursuing her dream by her overprotective father, Ray Peyton, Sr. When Ray Sr. offers Maggie a car as a college graduation present, he takes her to a junkyard to choose one from an assortment of very used cars. Maggie has her eye on an old Nissan, but a certain rusty, banged up '63 VW Bug seems to be clamoring for her attention. To her surprise, Maggie leaves the lot with Herbie. As she prepares to leave town for a position with ESPN News, Maggie discovers that Herbie has a mind of his own--and an alternate route for her future.Written by
I suppose I could just really rake this movie over the coals if I wanted to, but what's the point? It'd be like beating a physically handicapped kid in arm wrestling - it's way easy, but you walk away without really accomplishing anything, and you feel kind of bad afterwards.
Plus, I'm not exactly part of the main demographic for this movie, and if you aren't part of the demographic, then why would you even consider paying money to see it? What are you expecting? This is a movie about a lifelike car that spits exhaust in the faces of bad guys, leaks oil on their bad guy shoes, and opens its trunk, doors, or glove compartment whenever something needs to be revealed or somebody needs to be strategically hit in a slapstick manner. If those types of shenanigans send you rolling down the aisles in apoplectic fits of laughter then you're in luck. However, if you're like me and aren't quite so easily amused then you might want to veer your hard-earned dollars in another direction.
Even though I've never been a fan of the Herbie series, and this movie did nothing to make me a convert, there are some positives. The most important being that Lindsay Lohan is looking very good and is in fine pre-anorexia, pre-fake blonde form. She claims her current look (Ode De Skeletal Olsen Twin) is for a movie she's doing in which she plays a fashion designer, and she promises to put her weight back on. I hope so because she definitely looks better with a little meat on them bones! The second positive is that the entire cast is giving it their best. They're not given great material to work with, but at least they look like they're having a little fun. I'm quite sure Matt Dillon is well aware that this isn't exactly a step up from his previous movie, Crash, but he doesn't use that as an excuse to phone in his performance, so I have to give credit there.
I think they should've renamed the movie though. I would've suggested Herbie: Fully Loaded WITH MUSIC MONTAGES! Sheesh. I honestly don't think I've ever seen one movie with that many montages. At times I thought I was watching a series of Disney music videos. What in the world? Was this a prime example of avoiding dialogue? Oh well. At times boring, and never threatening to entice riotous laughter, Herbie at least moves along at a decent pace and is never quite so stupid that it's intellectually insulting, so I won't be too harsh. I'm sure it's loads of fun for the really young (under 7). However, when I asked my 10-year-old brother what he thought of the movie he replied, "It was OK." When I asked if he thought it was funny he replied, "Kind of. I guess." Not exactly a ringing endorsement but not a total condemnation either.
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