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Typical family entertainer

Herbie: Fully Loaded

Genre: Family

Director: Angela Robinson

Cast: Lindsey Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon

Storyline: Herbie is rescued from the scrapheap, and Lindsey Lohan races him against the evil Matt Dillon.

Bottomline: Enjoy, with willing suspension of disbelief.

This movie is more of a Lindsey Lohan vehicle than a showcase of the famous, `living' VW race- car. Herbie is often relegated to second fiddle, and his race scenes are somewhat uninspired because of the prominence given to Lohan.

Things sure have changed. When I was a little kid, Herbie was the star, and I couldn't get enough of him. Now I can't get enough of Lindsey Lohan. So I guess everything has worked out pretty well in the end. After all, Lindsey Lohan is a good actress, one of the better teen stars around. She gives a charming, watchable performance as Maggie Peyton, the youngest daughter in a long line of drivers. As a university graduation present, her father (Michael Keaton), brings her to a scrap yard where she rescues Herbie from certain destruction. As always, suspension of disbelief is necessary for enjoyment of this move. It is never explained why Herbie is alive, and rather than being terrified, people soon come to love the little car.

Unassuming style

As the movie progresses, it follows every family movie convention in a light, unassuming style. Herbie asserts himself as a fine race-car and Maggie rediscovers her love of the track when Herbie beats `legendary' Trip Murphy (Matt Dillon) in an impromptu street race. The movie is meant to be nothing more than an amusing family film, devoid of swearing, sex or any other controversy, and it fulfils this role well. It suffers slightly from an overly heavy emphasis on NASCAR-racing (the type of racing that Herbie competes in). NASCAR is hugely popular in America, but seeing it mentioned so many times is alienating for foreign audiences. To its credit, the film adds in a healthy dose of women's empowerment. A young girl is shown constantly beating men at a man's game, and a subplot deals with Maggie's father's desire to prevent her from getting behind the wheel, despite the fact that she is a better driver than her racing brother. Combine the storyline with the fact that Lohan is a healthy teenager, not a stick-thin, sleazily-attired Barbie replica, and the film represents both entertainment and a positive influence on young viewers, while also being a harmless, reasonably engaging way for their adult companions to spend 90 minutes.

TEJAS EWING

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