Wednesday, August 10, 2005

HERBIE: FULLY LOADED

Herbie learns to grind

Director: Angela Robinson
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon, Justin Long

Tagline: He’s Back!


In this peculiar but compelling adult drama, Lindsay Lohan plays a vulnerable college hopeful who is abused by a greasy forty-two year old male. He slaps her about, makes her do things she doesn’t want to do, ejaculates on her chest in public etc. She is surprisingly (often very visibly) turned on by such shenanigans and plays along with his twisted behaviour. Things start to escalate when the cycle of abuse gets out of control and before long, both are openly seeing other people as part of a flirty game, but Lohan takes things a little too far, letting a seedy pervert (Matt Dillon) give her the ‘ride of her life’ causing her devastated partner to try to commit suicide. She ultimately has to decide whether her debauched lifestyle is more important to her than the wild friend who started the fun.
The credit for getting this movie a U certificate (in Britain anyway, Ireland saw through it) goes to director Angela Robinson, who has worked only on dykesploitation movies like But I’m A Cheerleader, Chickula: Teenage Vampire and last year’s D.E.B.S.. I was unfamiliar with these films, but if others know them it might explain why I was the youngest but one in the cinema.
The family movie template is so thin as to be practically nonsensical, but this has its advantages. Michael Keaton is hopeless, emotionless, and unable to say anything of interest, but cameos by plenty of NASCAR’s greatest stars, such as Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson show this to be a highly successful method performance. The Daytona 500 is mercifully reduced to a very brief farce, with noone but Herb’s driving shown in any capacity. The outcome of the last race is so uninteresting that it is even revealed in the trailer, to allow for more time to promote Cheetoes, as well as both Pepsi and Coca Cola.
Whether this movie serves as a poignant comment on the hollowness of modern eroticism or simply to point out to the six-year-old boy in front of me how lovely Lindsay Lohan looks in her array of blue tops every three seconds, it has a disappointing aftertaste. Perhaps because of the casualness of the final paedo joke, or that so many NASCAR fans are made happier, or maybe just because it is left to the imagination exactly how cars do it.

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