Duff vs. Lohan: Lohan

Katie Mallady

Teen rivals share ex-boyfriend, bad reviews

Credit: Beth Rankin

When I was seven years old, I saw Herbie Goes Bananas. I was fascinated by the courageous car that could move and think on his own. Herbie stole every scene he was in, and by the end of the movie he had triumphed over the bad guys and proven to his new family that he was really special. Herbie: Fully Loaded is very loyal to Herbie movies of the past and delighted every child in the theater. And there were a lot of children in the theater.

Lindsay Lohan was billed as the star of the movie, but that’s a gross exaggeration. She played second fiddle to the car in every scene. Her shape-shifting breasts may garner a few extra glances from older viewers, but the majority of the audience — children between the ages of five and 12 — will be mesmerized by the ’63 Volkswagen.

Herbie: Fully Loaded is action-packed and has exciting race scenes, but suffers from the curse placed on nearly all live-action Disney movies. Disney puts much more effort into their animated features, leaving live-action films the short end of the stick with formulaic plots and badly written scripts paired with lackluster acting.

The plot of Herbie: Fully Loaded aims to confuse the audience members and keep them in the dark about key elements of the back (and current) story. Lindsay Lohan plays Maggie Peyton, a recent college graduate from a family of racecar drivers. She’s planning on leaving for New York City and a job at ESPN, but all she’s ever wanted to do is race stockcars. However, Maggie’s true aspirations and racing past are hidden from viewers until the middle and end of the movie.

Maggie is forced (by Herbie) to race a NASCAR champion, Trip Murphy (the “evil” villain of the movie, played with all appropriate exaggeration by Matt Dillon). Maggie, disguised as a male driver known only as “Maxx” (which shouldn’t work due to the volume of Lohan’s breasts in that racing suit) beats Trip. The win inspires the wrath of her father (Michael Keaton), who had apparently forbidden Maggie from street racing after her crash in high school. Half way through the film, we finally learn Lindsay Lohan wants to be a racer.

Trip Murphy becomes immediately obsessed with beating Herbie in a race. He’s obsessed with beating the car. Not the driver, just the car. Trip demands a rematch, wins Herbie and sends him to the demolition derby.

Maggie, realizing her mistake in gambling her magical car, rescues him from the derby and takes him home. It should be noted at this point that it takes the main characters an extremely long time to realize that Herbie is anything but an ordinary car despite “facial” expressions created by his headlights and bumper, his random horn-honking antics and ability to move without a driver.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s brother, Ray Jr. (Breckin Meyer), has finally qualified for a NASCAR race, but crashes right after qualifying and is unable to race. Maggie agrees to race for him, and his pit crew transforms Herbie into a stock car. There is also a romance with an old friend from high school, but it’s so predictable I don’t feel the need to say any more about it.

Despite the script, giant plot holes and regrettable acting, Herbie: Fully Loaded still manages to be an enjoyable children’s movie. If you are an adult and are forced to go see Herbie, take it with a large grain of salt. preferably sprinkled over a bag of popcorn. However, if you want a Lindsay Lohan movie, go rent Mean Girls.

Contact copy desk chief Katie Mallady at [email protected]edu.