Herbie: Fully Loaded (3/10
for adults; 7/10 for children)
by Tony Medley
It’s possible to make a movie
for children that will be appealing to adults. “Because of Winn Dixie”
earlier this year was a delightful film that tugged at my heart strings,
even though it was intended for children. “Herbie” had a really terrific
cast, including Michael Keaton, a guy I’ve always liked and one I consider
a comedic wonder.
Alas, “Herbie” falls flat.
Keaton, who plays Ray Peyton, Sr., doesn’t have one funny line. Not that
all those responsible for the script (there are five names who got “Story
by” or “Screenplay by” credit, always a sign of a dismal film) tried to
write things that were funny. These people were so clueless that they
didn’t even give Keaton one funny line. His role is a straight, boring
role that could have been played by a cardboard man.
Lindsay Lohan has been in some
very good movies, like “Freaky Friday” (2003) and “Mean Girls” (2004) and
one of the reasons these films were so good was because she was so good.
Here she takes a lousy script and makes the worst of it. Maybe some of the
fault (or most?) can be put on the head of director Angela Robinson, who
gives us a movie that has less life than shown by Herbie’s girl friend, an
inanimate yellow VW bug.
The best thing in the movie is
Matt Dillon, who plays the heavy, Trip Murphy, the top rated NASCAR racer
in competition with Herbie. When Dillon is onscreen, the film has a
vibrancy that keeps your attention. When he’s offscreen, it’s look at your
watch time to see how much more you have to endure.
Also wasted is Cheryl Hines,
who plays Sally, Ray’s girl friend. She is a delightful addition to Larry
David’s diverting HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Here, unfortunately,
she finds herself trapped in the same hell with Keaton with no lines and
no raison d’etre.
I missed the media screening so
saw this in a theater with a real audience. At the end the children
applauded. If you have children, they should like it, but take a good
June 26, 2005