STUDIO: Walt Disney Pictures

MSRP: $19.99
RUNNING TIME: 102 Minutes
• Audio commentary from Director Angela Robinson
• Deleted scenes with optional Director commentary
• Alternate Opening with optional Director commentary
• Bloopers
• Featurette: “A Day At The Races
• Featurette: “Bringing Herbie to Life
• Featurette: “Breaking the Rules: The Stunts from Herbie: Fully Loaded
• Lindsay Lohan “First” music video

The Pitch

"Hey, how about we give the former husk of Lindsay Lohan first dibs at updating the wacky adventures of everyone’s favorite No. 53 hustler? We should get those guys from The State to help write this thing as well, considering The Pacifier made … one … hundred … million … dollars. Audiences like them."

The Humans

Lohan. Keaton. Matt Dillion. Breckin Meyer. Justin Long. Jill Ritchie. Jimmi Simpson. Jeff Gordon. Cheryl Hines. Robert Ben Garant. Thomas Lennon.

Long’s attachment always kept popping out at the wrong times.

The Car

Herbie – The Love Bug (uncredited).

The Nutshell

Lohan, looking rather fatigued, goes on to discover Herbie at a local salvage shop, but not before passing over him for a Nissan. Hippies everywhere are pissed. The duo quickly bonds, and crazy antics must ensue that drive Matt Dillion’s professional NASCAR driver insane – including threatening to pummel his winning record into the circular file with their brand of fast driving shenanigans. Throw in Michael Keaton as the stern, but unassuming stereotypical dad, Justin Long as her ‘tween love interest, and Breckin Meyer as the plot point, and you’ve basically got the characters who breeze in and out of this relatively harmless update.

The Package

Interestingly enough, it’s somewhat stacked. Presented in a relatively crisp 1.85:1 transfer, Herbie: Fully Loaded‘s 5.1. Surround is fairly standard, considering how professional it sounds. Both audio and video are clean and clear and under control, just how I’m sure Disney wants things.

"Uh, your breast is leaking…"

Aside from that, there’s a relatively straight-forward commentary track from Director Angela Robinson (who made last year’s fun D.E.B.S. – read Dave’s DVD rack review here), although it’s not going to set the digital world on fire. Her professionalism is boundless, and she recounts the many tales of making the movie, only alluding to Lohan’s problems during the shoot, many of which involved being "sick." Your own mind can probably fill in the blanks, especially if you’ve noticed her Poltergeist-like transformation into skin and bones recently.

After that, there’s a bunch of bloopers, which have Lohan screaming and shrieking at the cast and crew playing tricks on her tired self, all of which have audio commentary from Robinson (who provides the necessary technical talk over the seemingly stodgy scenes). Then there’s an alternate title opening with 60’s style animation that I particularly enjoyed, but due to dreaded preview audiences had to be scrapped at the last minute. The animation on display is thoroughly enjoyable, but the version the filmmakers chose to be in the movie sets the tone more correctly and cheekily. Other extras include a featurette on racecar driving from a woman I’ve never heard of (although if I had followed the NASCAR world, I might have known), a feature on the making of the film (mostly fluff), and a featurette on the making of the film’s serious stunts, which have wire work and a sheen to them in the finished product.

"Hey! I wrote this!"

Finally, there’s the music video for Lohan’s "First" which has her swooning around and grooving her blonde haired, sunglass head as the camera careens by her at unnatural angles. This is strictly a soulless music video by-product all the way, and should be avoided if you hate this brand of pop currently being rammed down our throats. If you’ve got children or spawn who love the Lohan, may the Tall Man be with you while you’re most likely sallyforthing through that one.

The Lowdown

Continuing in her bright, cheery, and playful mode, Director Angela Robinson, along with co-writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (and Spiderman 2 scribes Alfred Gough and Miles Millar), recount the further adventures of the No. 53 Love Bug. This time it’s for a more ‘tween audience accustomed to digital sequences, fractured one-note character development, and stereotypical you-saw-it-coming scenes that should keep most under 15-year-olds entertained. Plus, there are Montages! Basically, all involve Herbie being cleaned up and racing through Hulk-style panels. Six or seven at last count. Those who don’t love montages should stay far, far away.

Herbie: Fully Loaded is just a step above mediocre really, although it has some entertaining chuckles and great chemistry between Lohan and Long (fancy that!). Robinson’s visuals succinctly set the tone for the movie, which all boils down to the mode in which she’s slowly carving out for herself. Clearly, it fits perfectly into the Disney stable, which also has a cadre of filmmakers who understand what they’re doing and do it professionally well. Most, though, will be repulsed by the seemingly vanilla style and stylistic choices. Especially in the touching up of everyone’s favorite Love Bug, which has Herbie able to defy gravity and fly on walls, rotate 180 degrees upward without blinking a headlight, and procuring speeds of upwards of 200 mph. However, the way all of those seemingly impossible feats are presented is in such a way it’s entirely believable, yet wretchedly saccharine.

Herbie had to finish what Transporter 2 started…

What’s really the gigantic rock stuck in the viewers shin is the stereotypical by-the-book one-dimensional dumb plot (long enough for you?), which has Lohan going up against Matt Dillion’s NASCAR champion, a man Dillion plays like a toned-down children’s version of his sleazebag character from There’s Something About Mary. Keaton floats in and out to remind Lohan that she’s got a life ahead of her, one not to be sullied by racing like her brother, Breckin Meyer. Meanwhile, he’s the type of guy who’s only needed when the plot sees fit, as in scenes where Lohan needs to talk to someone or have him tell her that he’s not going to lose her like he did their mother. Meyer’s plot point has no business being anywhere near the story, other than to propel Lohan and Herbie into … the final race. Cue: booming upbeat theme. Justin Long remains one of the only (along with Jill Ritchie and Jimmi Simpson, playing almost as if they’ve haven’t left D.E.B.S.) who gets out of this thing unscathed, essentially portraying the friend who is jonesing for Lohan with typical bland precision.

Lohan, on the other hand, looks Haggard (maybe in the Merle way). She appears very, insanely tired. A couple scenes almost made me wonder if she was crying her eyes out beforehand, considering she looks on the verge of tears. I’m sure as her life was spiraling around her, this has a considerable amount to do with how she appears. Though her performance is certainly passable for the throes of teenage girls flocking to watch this film to leave with a smile and a positive, uplifting "go girl" message. You can do anything! Lohan might just continue crying, though…

As it stands, Herbie: Fully Loaded is nothing spectacular. The script has some serious derailing demerits that will drive certain viewers away in droves, including those who hold the originals in high regards (their heads will most certainly explode). What elevates the rest of this DVD is the amount of extras on this disc, a lot more than we should be privileged to.

Reactions to this will most undoubtedly vary accordingly.

6.5 out of 10