Dallas Observer film critic Robert Wilonsky:
To damn Herbie: Fully Loaded as soporific crap, as lazy profiteering, as yet another needless and cynical remake in a season populated by such con artists, would be as pointless as the movie itself. If you had any hope for it, you're either a Walt Disney executive or Gordon Buford, author of the story "Car-Boy-Girl" that birthed five prior features, including 1969's The Love Bug and the 1997 made-for-TV redo with Bruce Campbell in the Dean Jones role, and a short-lived TV series.
I've seen Fully Loaded recently with my kids, and the idea it's being subjected to serious criticism cracks me up.
I'd like to know who Wilonsky envisioned as the readership of that review. Does he think Observer readers debated between seeing the sixth Herbie film and drinking their way up and down Greeneville Avenue?
When I saw the film, kids adored Herbie for the same reason I loved it as a kid, the same reason my grandkids will love another Herbie remake in 20 years -- a beaten-up Volkswagen comes to life, surprising its hard-luck owner! Hilarity ensues! A lovable mechanic makes him new again! The car squirts oil on a dastardly villain! He wins a race just when you thought he was going to lose!
Expecting Disney to deviate from this formula is like going to Hamlet and hoping for a happy ending.
I wrote briefly for the Observer in the late '80s, though I don't think I met Wilonsky. I'm concerned for him. No one on the far side of 35 should be able to offer an informed opinion on the relative quality of Lindsey Lohan's three Disney films.