Bug Off

Despite a title that will probably have Ronda Storms suspecting gay porn in the house, this is merely Disney's attempt at resuscitating its 30-year-old franchise about a loveable, anthropomorphic automobile.

Fully Loaded doesn't stray much from the formula of the original Herbie movies - a lot of cute mugging, a bit of mild action and problem solving, a whiff of romance and a bushel of life lessons to be learned - so nostalgia buffs and fans of the series are likely to be fairly satisfied. Small children will be similarly amused, but there really isn't much here for anyone else, beginning with viewers in the process of growing out of their teen years.

The filmmakers wisely chose not to overload the film with special effects and turn Herbie into a totally CGI-dependent creation, but the movie's efforts to make itself more appealing to contemporary audiences mainly amount to throwing in some NASCAR races, a monster truck rally, teen queen Lindsay Lohan (in pre-skeletal mode) and a few fading movie stars along the lines of Michael Keaton (wrinkly and forgettable as Lohan's dad) and Matt Dillon as an unscrupulous racer. Goofy Justin Long graduates from total doofus slapstick in Dodgeball to semi-romantic lead here (he stutters a lot while staring at Lohan's chest), and there's a wall-to-wall soundtrack of classic rock songs so omnipresent that it will probably become annoying even to people who really like this stuff. Also stars Breckin Meyer and Cheryl Himes.

Herbie: Fully Loaded (G) opens June 24 at local theaters.

-Lance Goldenberg

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