Inspired by 1968s The Love Bug, Herbie: Fully Loaded isn't a remake so much as an update. Its credits recap the decline and neglect of the extraordinary Volkswagen, discovered and restored years later by a new owner. Herbie then drops jaws by winning races as a clear underdog.
His new owner is Maggie (Lindsay Lohan), daughter of a retired NASCAR driver (Michael Keaton) who's attempting to rekindle the winning family with his son (Breckin Meyer), unsuited to racing. It seems Maggie got the driving gene.
As with any Herbie movie, there has to be a villain - in this case it is a NASCAR driver determined to destroy not only Herbie but Maggie and her family along the way. This hatred comes after Maggie and Herbie beat him in a street race captured by ESPN.
Think it's odd to see NASCAR and ESPN here, think again, the popularity of both has grown immensely over the past five years. Now think dollars and we see all the marketing tie-ins, so the story is moved forward by the use of the NASCAR races.
Adding to the feel of the original, the car is mostly a real car and not a cartoon character which adds to the warmth and charm of the film. Even the acting and script help the G rated film entertain the entire family. You may find it dragging and predictable at times, but listen to the wonderful choices of music and you'll find yourself tapping your feet and maybe even singing along.
The only thing that prevented this film from getting a higher grade from me is the script. While trying to keep the G rating the film lost a bit of the original's soul as the interactions with the car failed to allow Herbie to become a real character and zaniness was all but forgotten. Still, all in all this is a summer family treasurer.