Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Herbie: Fully Loaded

Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family, Kids
Action/Adventure, Comedy, Kids Family
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
Featuring: Lindsay Lohan, Justin Long, Breckin Meyer, Matt Dillon, Michael Keaton
Director: Angela Robinson
Producer: Robert Simonds
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
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He’s back!

Herbie, after a long hiatus is back. I remember watching the Herbie movies as a kid and loving them. I now wonder if I watched them today if I would love them or if it was just a kid thing.

Herbie, for those of you who don’t know, is a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle who has a mind of his own. Maggie (Lindsay Loohan) Peyton is from a family of NASCAR winners. Her dad played by Michael Keaton is determined to keep her away from the family business.

The movie opens with Maggie graduating from college with a degree in journalism. She has a job lined up after summer vacation. Her dad takes her to the local junkyard to buy a summer car, and Herbie chooses Maggie. She is then reunited with a high school friend, Kevin, who helps her fix Herbie.

This is the classic story of good versus evil with the added storyline of a daughter who has to pave her way against daddy’s wishes. Maggie wins a street race against the sinister, yet popular Trip Murphy (Matt Dillon). Herbie sees through Trip and provides plenty of random comic mischief (squirting oil, raising and lowering his hood, slamming his doors, etc.). Maggie lies to her dad about racing because racing is in her blood.

I watched this movie with two other adults, two teenage boys, three pre-teen girls, and a 2-½ year old. We all laughed at some point in the movie and at different things. There was plenty of slapstick humor, and some of what we laughed at was the sheer stupidity of some situations. I think we all enjoyed this movie at some level, however, my toddler was afraid during some scenes when Herbie takes control of the driving.

One has to wonder how Herbie can do all he does. Is it because he has magical powers, is he possessed, or does he live because he is loved? This issue is never addressed and because of computer animation our children are raised with objects doing things that they can never really do.

Although this movie is rated “G”, Herbie does have some objectionable content. Maggie lies to her dad and breaks a promise. However, he does say to her, “I thought I raised you to be honest.” She experiences a low point when because of her actions (lying and deceit), she loses Herbie and the trust of her dad and her friend. Maggie does take responsibility for her actions and lying. However, Maggie also says “Oh my God” about 8 times with several other references to God. I wonder if Disney intentionally takes God’s name in vain to irritate Christians or if it is so commonplace in our language today that they don’t even have to script it.

At a drive-in movie, there is a scene of a skeleton running—taken from “A Scary Movie 2.” The clothing worn is typical of our culture, crop tops, low cut tops and a short skirt. There are also several minor sexual innuendos: Herbie raises his antenna at a younger Beetle, Trip yells to get pictures of girls along with phone numbers, etc.

This movie is not going to win any awards; I view it as a family movie that leaves you feeling good. The good versus evil theme was played over and over. At one point, it appears that evil has triumphed. Trip Murphy (dressed in all black—my 2 ½ year old called him the bad guy) wins Herbie. One might think that Satan has won on Earth, but we are reminded in Scripture that Jesus will come again to take back what is rightfully His. And as in all Disney movies, in the end, good triumphs, and Herbie ends up back in his rightful owner’s hands.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/nudity: Minor

Viewer Comments
Positive—This film was humorous and entertaining. What’s more, it was clean, and suitable for all ages. This is a fine example of good old fashioned comedies, the way they used to be, before excessive vulgarity and such began to take over movies. Lindsey Lohan did a fine job of portraying a girl who was quite surprised by the personality that the car she rescued from the junkyard had. Despite the great acting all around, Herbie stole the show. There were many funny scenes involving this car that I don’t want to spoil them for you. Overall, I highly recommend this film because it shows the value of friendship and forgiveness.
My Ratings: Good/4½
—Fred, age 25
Positive—It’s been 25 years since Herbie last graced the big screen. Though not the perfect film longtime fans were waiting for, HFL captures much of the fun from the original series. Personally, I was amazed that Disney kept the film G rated. Bravo to them for providing a quality FAMILY film. With that being said, there is a bit of innuendo here and there but it is very minor. That’s a rarity these days.

Without giving away too many details of the film Herbie undergoes several transformations in the film. He starts as junkyard Herbie, then moves onto street racer Herbie, then demo-derby Herbie and then finally Nascar Herbie. Herbie finds himself on quite an adventure, including falling in love. Kids from 1 to 100 are sure to leave the theater with a smile. If you are a fan of the original films you will love this chapter in the series. If you have no idea who Herbie is the film will leave you wanting more. This is one fan that is looking forward to a SIXTH Herbie feature film!

The bottom line is that this is a feel good film in the tradition of the Disney classics from decades long ago. The story is updated enough to be contemporary while retaining the classic formula that made the original Herbie films work. Sound track choices compliment this film nicely. It’s refreshing to have some decent music for a change. Of course, Lindsay Lohan has a song in the film, but this track is left for the credits.

I look at films I see in a simple way. For me, the question is, was I entertained? That answer is yes! So were the wife and kids. You will be too. Although not a Christian film, Herbie Fully loaded does have some messages about being honest and caring about others. Take the kids. Take your parents. This is a feel good fun movie that will have you laughing, crying and cheering. Herbie Fully Loaded is truly a winner! I give it an A.

To learn more about Herbie from me, a Christian fan, please visit my Web site at You can read how Herbie helped me to find the Lord!
My Ratings: Good/4½
—David Evans, age 38
Positive—There are so few movies that I will let my children, 6 and 4, see. This is one of those few. It was very clean and kept their attention for the entire movie. This is an adorable movie that the whole family can watch together. I just wish they would make more like this.
My Ratings: Good/4
—Kristen, age 27
Positive—This movie was fun, exciting, and better than any of the originals! Herbie is nicer and doesn’t do some of the extreme things of the originals (in which he rammed another car in a jealous rage and later made a suicide attempt). Lindsay Lohan mades a good lead for this modern spin on the Lovebug.

I did think there were a few objectionable moments—Herbie’s power—where does it come from. But really, if your kids watch Cinderella or Barney or nice things like that—I see this kind of magic as cultural. Lindsay Lohan’s pants were definitely low riders (with long shirts), and the appearance of the monster truck is a little frightening.

The objectionable moment were brief, however, and the overall feeling of the movie is pretty clean cut with exciting racing and neat car stunts.
My Ratings: Better than Average/3
—dmh, age 38
Positive—I found Herbie to be decent enough, though it occurred to me this morning what really is wrong with it. The car takes revenge on anyone that picks on “him,” and we laugh at it because it’s “funny.” Nice non-Christian moral there, but probably not too many people would pick it up. Anyway, it was pretty clean, G did work okay for it, and Lindsay did a fine job as usual. I left feeling a like I could buy this on DVD when it comes out, I think that would be the first that I’ve seen in a theater that I’ve actually bought.
My Ratings: Better than Average/3
—Ken Goding, age 20
Positive—Very cute! My kids (9, 5, 3) and I really enjoyed this movie. Lindsey Lohan was adorable and made the movie work. (Actually I thought all the acting was better than average for a kids’ movie.) The plot, although totally unrealistic, was so exciting that the audience cheered at the end of the big race and applauded when the movie was over! I haven’t seen that since “Lord of the Rings”. Herbie was better than “Madagascar” and way better than “Shark Boy”. The only part I wasn’t thrilled about was when Lohan’s love interest tried to peek at her while she was changing. Still, it was cleaner than most kids’ movies, although I would call it PG by my conservative standards (and I think most PG movies should be PG-13).
My Ratings: Better than Average/3½
—Shelly, age 33
Negative—…There was a swear word in the first two minutes and the Lord’s name was taken in vain (“the oh my …” phrase) approximately 5 times in the first 25 minutes. At that point we left. I would not recommend this movie. Boy has times changed. There is no way this movie would be rated G 20 years ago. What a dissapointment!
My Ratings: Offensive/2
—J. Wilke, age 31
Positive—Overall, I am extremely happy to finally see a movie that is worthy to be called a “family movie.” This reminded me of movies Disney made when I was a child that were not offensive and the whole family could enjoy without worrying about language or content. I wish there were more like this at the theaters!! I would definitely see it again.
My Ratings: Good/4
—M.G. of Nashville, TN, age 41
Positive—My husband I and my daughter (8) saw Herbie, and it was great. Very nice family movie though not a Christian film—was not offensive and done with good taste. I would recommend to any family of any age.
My Ratings: Good/5
—Debbie, age 40
Negative—I really hate to use this word, but it was cute! The lead does not dress very nice, it would have been a very recommendable movie otherwise! It was really hokey in parts, kind of corny! But it stayed pretty true to the original, except there wasn’t a really funny guy in the side seat! It was fun seeing Matt Dillion, I haven’t seen him in a movie I liked since “The Outsiders”! Herbie was really neat seeing again, except he was kind of effeminate! Kinda girly! But …it was cute!
My Ratings: Better than Average/3
—Tim Stromer, age 37
Positive—Lovely to see a positive Christian review of Herbie—I’m a Christian and have loved Herbie for years! The idea of a car with adorable, human qualities is sometimes viewed negatively by some extremities of Christianity which seem to see the concept as “idolatry”… in my opinion, it is sad if a Christian cannot see the good in Herbie. He is a very moral character—he is loyal, loving and fair, and his personality is no different from that of a lovable puppy dog. Granted, a puppy is God’s creation, whereas a Volkswagen is man-made, but in that respect Herbie is no different from any other cartoon character. Mickey Mouse is of course just a drawing! And Herbie lives because he is loved!! My Ratings: [Better than Average/4
—Rosemary Moore, age 27
Negative—How in the world can this movie be rated G? They said cuss words and used the Lord’s name in vain 8 times! So much for family films now a days. No one 18 and under should see this movie. I hope the Lord can forgive me for exposeing my children to this because I can’t forgive myself! I should have read more reviews
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/1
—Catie P, age 35
Negative—I don’t understand all the positive comments on this movie. I took my parents and 14 year old son to this thinking how could anything be offensive in a G rated movie. I wish I had never walked in the theater. Yes, it had a cute story line and the main character is very pretty and has a good personality. But her skirts are very short, low necklines, tight shirts that reveal her large bust. Not appropriate for my son to look at for over an hour. Even worse, they use God’s name at random, Oh my --, at least 6 times. God said that this is sin, to use his name in vain. We know how men have problems with their thought life. This movie was not made to promote Holy thoughts. I have a problem with sin, I commit it way too much and constantly go to Our Lord for forgiveness. I do not want to put my som into situations where he would be tempted to sin in his thought life, so I should not have taken him to see this G rated movie. I am sad that I went. I cannot believe this was rated G. I guess I am old fashioned and believe God when He calls us to live a Holy Life for He is Holy.
My Ratings: Very Offensive/1½
—Bev, age 50
Positive—I think the movie blends well with the original “Love Bug” movies of the late 60s. We took our 7 and 10 year old to see it and we all loved it. With the exception of the “oh my G…” phrase being used, the overall language and dress of the characters, in my opinon, were tamer than what is normally found in today’s schools or on the streets. This movie is what it is, a feel good movie that, while not a “Christian” movie it does demostrate that good and love wins out in the end.
My Ratings: Good/4½
—T. Wallace, age 45
Negative—Just because a movie is clean, it doesn’t make it good. Save your money and tell your kids to wait for the DVD.
My Ratings: Better than Average/2½
—Angela, age 38
Negative—I took my eight-years old grandson to see Herbie after consulting with his mother regarding the number of time the phrase “Oh, my God” was used. I explained to my grandson the problems with sin when using the Lord’s name that way. The movie, while entertaining, left a poor impression on me because the heroine, a young adult, lied to her father and disobeyed his direction regarding not racing. Her older brother and her friend helped in the deception. As a result, or in spite of, her lies she ended up winning everything, enjoying adulation from her peers praise and her family.

I’m not sure if my grandson picked up on the “lie and disobey to win” message, but it’s apparent to older children and adults. The movie treated the father as one of the bad guys. Techically, the movie was fun and entertaining. Morally, it falls short. Walt would be upset.
My Ratings: Offensive/3
—Mark Ausman, age 55

Comments from young people
Positive—I liked it. It was very funny. It did have some bad words, but you should watch it. Your kids will like it. My baby brother liked it!I think they did a great job.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Eden, age 9
Positive—I loved this movie… What’s not to love about an adorable little bug with a mind of its own? I was a little dissapointed with some material, namely Maggie’s persistently tight clothing and a few possible innuendos; I was surprised that they were bold enough to reference the sex scene from the Titanic! (It’s very subtle, but if you’ve seen the “Titanic” it’s obvious.) I thought the morals of the movie were great! It’s very sweet the way they portray forgiveness and faith in the movie through Herbie and Maggie-it’s very clearly shown and is understandable to kids. Maggie lies in the movie, but openly admits later she regrets it. This is a fun movie to see with the whole family! Funny, touching, and extremely cute.
My Ratings: Better than Average/5
—Allie, age 15
PositiveLindsay Lohan never seemed to connect to the film and Herbie, but none the less funny.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4
—Jack Meriwether, age 13
Positive—It was a great movie! A must-see!
My Ratings: Good/4
—Ellyn R., age 12
Positive—I LOVED this movie! It was funny and had a great storyline. This was the first Disney movie in a long time that made me laught. But, what I adored about this movie was the fact that it stayed true to the older movies! I grew up watching the old movies, and when I heard there was going to be another movie, I was so happy! It was a wonderful family movie, and I reccomend everyone to see it!
My Ratings: Good/5
—Samantha Badger, age 15
Positive—I liked this movie a lot and I would really like to go and see it again.I went go see this movie with my friend, her three brothers, and her mom. We all liked this movie and found nothing in this movie offensive. I would recommend this movie to anyone. …really cute.
My Ratings: Good/5
—Christian, age 12