The lovable little Volkswagen Beetle is back and, this time, Herbie is street racing, competing in a Demolition Derby and running a NASCAR race in the 2005 film, “Herbie: Fully Loaded.” After his first racing career ended, Herbie is damaged and scheduled to be destroyed. But when the Peyton family arrives at the junkyard, they take him home where he helps Maggie Peyton understand she can’t give up on her dreams of being the next great race car driver in her family.
The Herbie movies are far from Oscar bait. They aren’t meant to be thought provoking films with some sort of existential motivation. They are meant to be fun and funny with a cute car that’s actually alive helping his owners compete in a race. The humor is meant to be basic while still making you laugh. This film succeeds at that mission in every way. The slapstick humor is dumb but I’m still laughing along with it, even if it’s predictable.
On top of Herbie, part of the charm of the earlier films was its star, Dean Jones. He was flawed in every film, but he was also charming, and you could see why Herbie like him. In this film, Lindsay Lohan portrays similar qualities. You can see why Herbie likes the character of Maggie Peyton and why he would risk his life for her. 2005 was probably the pinnacle of Lindsay Lohan’s career. You could see her undeniable talent on display, and it was before her personal troubles led to many moviegoers avoiding her films. While “The Parent Trap” may have been the peak of her Disney career, this is definitely a high mark.
As a NASCAR fan, I love seeing the drivers making cameos. My favorite driver of all time is Jeff Gordon, and my second favorite is Jimmie Johnson. Both appear in this film in a scene where they are admiring Herbie who then winks his headlight at Gordon. It’s a funny moment that is elevated for me due to my appreciation for the drivers in the scene.
If you’re looking for a Marvel or Star Wars blockbuster, this is not the film for you. If you’re looking for the classic animation style of Disney or the groundbreaking innovations of Pixar, this is not the film for you. But if you’re looking for a fun romp featuring a VW Bug, this is the film for you. To paraphrase Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation” when he said his girlfriend’s daughters made him watch it, “it’s pretty funny.”
Ranking: 3 stars out of 5
What did you think of “Herbie: Fully Loaded?”