“Please take care of Herbie. Whatever your problems, he will help you solve them.”
Kyle’s rating: Could Lindsay Lohan be a Bond girl? Hmm… YES!
Kyle’s review: It may speak of the film’s utter disposability that I spent a lot of my time while watching trying to determine if the DVD copy I had rented was the original theatrical version (which I had read featured digital touch-ups to reduce the size of Lindsay Lohan’s breasts to better accommodate the Disney audience; sort of the opposite of the touch-ups on William Shatner’s behind in Star Trek VI) or if this was “uncut and uncensored.” On the other hand, I would have been checking Lindsay’s special features anyway. Hey, come on. She’s almost 20 now, so it’s okay.
Anyway, Herbie: Fully Loaded isn’t fully lame, but it’s close. I wish it were fully lame because that would have been a crazy pun, one I don’t think I’ve read elsewhere, so I would have been an amazing innovator blazing a writing trail with that one. Damn you, Herbie. Damn you.
I don’t even know what to say. I love Lindsay Lohan, and it bothers me that I’ve never seen her in person, even though I’ve by pure chance encountered Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton and a lot of other LA party skanks and even got to party in a couple of their famous Los Angeles hang-outs (it pays to have friends in high places). So it was a given that I would eventually see Herbie, because I like movies. Now, I’m not about to go out and buy, or even listen, to any of Lindsay’s albums. Because: damn. I did like that “Rumors” song I heard somewhere, and the songs she did for Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (which is vastly underrated) are good. But no thanks. I kind of remember watching an original Herbie movie or two back when I was a wee lad in southside Chicago, so there was also a nostalgia factor. Mostly it was about the Lohan, though.
And she was cool. At one point, to show how “cool” and “hip” and “rebel” her character is, she skateboards to her college graduation at the last second and is all cool and shows a lot of leg, which is cool. I didn’t actually believe she was a college student, however, so that although I was sitting flabbergasted at having seen two of my favorite things (Lindsay Lohan and a girl skateboarding) come together, hearing in the dialogue that she had supposedly just graduated from college was like getting a brainfreeze from a hot beverage. I literally was like “Wait, what?” It made no sense.
The movie is pretty much like that. The dialogue is really straight out of corny old movies, the plot is the typical underdog(s) win and triumph against incredible odds and learn valuable lessons that will teach the audience to better behave while they’re waiting in line in the heat to ride rides at your nearest Disney resort. There are other actors (including that one guy, Justin Long, who is cool and doofy but is going to make me uneasy for the rest of my life no matter what else I see him in because of his involvement with Jeepers Creepers, especially that insane slow-motion backwards fall he does out of the sewer pipe. I don’t know if I was tripping acid in the theater or what, but that scene freaked my **** out then and occasionally without warning freaks me out even now in random flashbacks. Oh man!) but it’s like “blah.”
I think there was some other stuff going on, but I didn’t really catch it all. I’m not drunk or anything: I guess I’m just not into the racing scene so that angle barely held my interest, and the dialogue and characterizations were so pathetically simple and one-dimensional that it took the personal charm of Lohan, Long, and Keaton to ever arouse my interest in the slightest. It’s cool that with modern effects they can make Herbie express himself like a normal person via his front end, and I really enjoyed that they had Lohan’s character eventually simply choose to accept Herbie’s consciousness as an essential mystery, without too many “How is this possible?” and “Let’s try to figure this out!” boring scenes of trying to understand. It’s a movie. Just accept it. That’s good.
But mostly, it’s the stuff that doesn’t actually occur or get dealt with that was most interesting, and since nothing in the film really holds your attention the mind instead wanders. Like many other reviewers I must ask: why does no one, especially once the publicity machine gets going, remember Herbie or have any kind of access to old newspapers or articles detailed his amazing past (one which gets documented in the title credits and referenced briefly in the initial junkyard scene, so it obviously did happen)? What happened to bring Herbie into such disrepair? If Lohan and Long’s characters get it on in Herbie, would Herbie watch? If Herbie can do pretty much anything short of flying, why doesn’t he just do it from the very start of a race instead of waiting until the last possible second to pull a victory? Since it sure seems like every important part on Herbie gets replaced and updated to bring it back into racing form, where exactly does Herbie’s consciousness reside? Why does it look like so much green screen for digital backgrounds footage was shot, to the extant of rivaling the content of the Star Wars prequels? Is Lindsay driving or is Herbie driving?
Whatever. This was another film where I admit I skimmed ahead a little bit with the advance button on my remote. But it’s so Disney paint-by-the-numbers that you can’t really blame me. If you see Herbie (and you probably shouldn’t, to be honest) you’ll be fast-forwarding, too, or at least wishing you were. I don’t even know if kids would like this. Lindsay Lohan remains a charming screen presence, but her best work in the harmless kids’ film genre is already on the shelf in The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, and Drama Queen. Maybe if you’re into hardcore racing anything Herbie: Fully Loaded will appeal to you; otherwise, rent it once just to complete the Lohan oeuvre and then move on to that Robert Altman movie she’s working on. All right!
P.S. – No offense to anyone out there in the world, but I was all concerned about coming across as a total freak for Lindsay Lohan when I wrote this, since the only thing going for the movie was that I like her as an film star (I guess I would use the word “actress” and without a trace of irony even!) so that was going to be my main focus. And of course I went overboard in writing this review for comedic effect, but continued to think “Man, if I read something like this elsewhere, I would think that person was a total freak!” Which I arguably am. But then I did research for the rest of the review over at IMDb.com and glanced at a couple of Lindsay Lohan message board topics, and it was like “Never mind. These people are freaks: I’m just an eccentric who says comically creepy things in comparison.” Whew! Thanks, strange IMDb-registered message board people!