"Love Bug" Herbie, the little vehicle that enamored the dumpy Volkswagen Beetle to children of the late '60s and early '70s, returns to woo a new generation of fans. The silly story, however, will do nothing for viewers who like even a touch of substance or plausibility with their summer entertainment. Newly minted college grad Maggie Peyton (Lindsay Lohan) returns to her family's suburban Los Angeles home, where her single father, Ray (Michael Keaton), clings to the vain hope that Ray Jr. (Breckin Meyer) will carry on the family stock-car legacy. Unfortunately, Ray's ineptitude on the NASCAR circuit has earned him the nickname "Out of the Way Ray"; Maggie is the Peyton with an innate need for speed. Ray would rather let his dream die than see his only daughter injured while racing, but takes her to the local junkyard to pick out a car as a graduation present. Naturally Maggie is drawn to the dilapidated race cars, but somehow winds up relinquishing $75 for a dust-covered VW Beetle that's in imminent danger of being squashed. She climbs into the white-striped car with the bold "53" painted on its hood and finds that she may be behind the wheel, but she's definitely not in charge. The car takes her to the shop where Kevin (Justin Long), whom Maggie hasn't seen since high school, now repairs vintage cars. He agrees to help her spiff up the peppy Bug, which steers them to a nearby auto show for parts. Undefeated NASCAR champion Trip Murphy (Matt Dillon) happens to be there, hawking his newest video game and fattening his already overinflated ego with the adoration of fans. Through an improbable series of events, Maggie ends up drag racing in drag — how considerate of the Bug's previous owner to leave an old helmet and suit in the trunk! — against Trip. Her willful little junker beats his state-of-the-art car with ease, and Maggie is soon refurbishing the Love Bug with Kevin's help and prepping for a rematch, all the while keeping her identity a secret. Lohan and Long are suitably adorable, but don't stand a chance against Herbie, a feisty (and just a little bit sexually charged) scene-stealer. The '80s-heavy soundtrack is puzzling at first, but ends up working surprisingly well with the modern-day story. Ultimately, though, only those who really love the Bug will be willing to put up with the loose plot and over-the-top action scenes.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: G
- Review: "Love Bug" Herbie, the little vehicle that enamored the dumpy Volkswagen Beetle to children of the late '60s and early '70s, returns to woo a new generation of fans. The silly story, however, will do nothing for viewers who like even a touch of substance o… (more)