A Herbie Review Spectacular - Part II
Review By: Gringo

UNF! More Herbie! You can't get enough! If you've bothered to read the first part of this two-part review of every Herbie movie in existence (barring the crappy 90s remake of the original), you'll know what to expect. Crap jokes and lame writing, and that's just in the review! HO HO! The series couldn't have gotten much worse after the dreary likes of The Love Bug and Herbie Rides Again, and in fact it managed to get much better. How was this miraculous feat achieved? By bringing on board some comic actors with very big chins. Unfortunately, they kept the whole Volkswagen car thing. Which I suppose is somewhat crucial, given the fact Herbie is in the movie's title. Still, it doesn't stop the car with the number 53 being one of the most irritating cinematic creations out there. I'm still at a loss to explain why a Volkswagen Beetle is allowed to enter international races against modern racecars, but then this is Hollywood, where nothing makes sense. Damn you, Hollywood! Start making sense! GRR! Uh...moving right along! Let's take a look at the final two Herbie movies, in which the little car travels to Monte Carlo before taking on international gangsters in South America. Joy!

Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo. Or, for want of a better title, the one where Don Knotts goes crazy. He is in this movie as part of a two-man team taking part in some big race round Monte Carlo. For some reason, he does a lot of gurning and running around, but doesn't actually do anything really funny. Except for one scene. There's a fight on a mountainside, which he gets involved in, and ends up being thrown through the air. The look of horror on his face is pure comedy gold. This movie revolves around two bungling criminals who steal a diamond and then hide it in Herbie's fuel tank. Herbie then sets off in the race, creating the simple plot; the criminals chase Herbie, trying to get the diamond, while the Volkswagen drivers are none the wiser. I can smell the fun! It's okay entertainment to tell the truth (lies are nasty!) and probably the best of the four Herbie movies. But that's not saying much. On the bright side, the bad guys have the biggest chins I've seen in cinema. Fatties are funny! Also, for a movie supposedly set in Monte Carlo, the only outdoor scene is in Paris and the rest all looks suspiciously like movie studio soundstages.

This movie also benefits from the inclusion of a strange Parisian inspector. He's supposedly on the trail of the diamond thieves but (SSSH! PLOT REVEALED!) he's in on the job, and just wants the diamond himself. There's a scene where all this is revealed, and the inspector pulls a gun on the racecar drivers, demanding they hand over the diamond. I thought Disney was against stuff like guns and violence in their movies, but obviously this one passed them by. Anyway, when the inspector pulls a gun, Herbie rolls forward over his foot. I mention this scene, because there's a sick crunching sound when the car does this, and it really does look like the actor who played the inspector got his foot crushed. Such clever special effects! Sadly, Don Knotts doesn't get his foot run over. It was only going to be a few more years (I think it was about three) until Herbie was revisited yet again by the cash-greedy executives as Disney for the fourth and final outing (not counting the 1990s remake of The Love Bug). That's a point - I wonder if the Herbie movies actually made money? They must have done to keep making them, but I'm guessing the net profit was probably in the $1 to $5 range.

Herbie Goes Bananas. It's Herbie...yet again! This time he's in South America on the trail of some kind of smugglers. I don't know, I wasn't paying much attention. Instead of fat, stupid Tennessee from the first movie and his "Hoibie!" accent, there's a small, stupid South American kid. And bananas. There are a lot of bananas in this movie. Hence the title. This was the last of the four original Herbie movies, and unbelievably, it was made in 1980. I say unbelievably because the whole thing looks so tacky and ugly that you'd be convinced it actually pre-dated The Love Bug. Anyway, this movie is more or less an adapted blueprint of the other three, with scenes of Herbie being wacky, Herbie falling in love, Herbie going on a murder spree in Colombia, Herbie taken hostage, Herbie being Herbie...TOO MUCH HERBIE! It's a watchable, entertaining movie in a dumb kind of way, but it's hardly high quality entertainment. I mean, there's even a scene where Herbie acts as a matador. That's right, an audience of thousands watches a car with a life of its own being a matador against a charging bull. And they're not freaked out? Fat chance! They'd run at the first sight!

This movie also has a cameo by the guy who played Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles. For that reason, it deserves to be known as the greatest Herbie movie...ever! Well, no, but it's always amusing to see the guy (his real name's Harvey Korman) acting. NOT HEDY, HEDLEY. Wow, I'm getting desperate for stuff to fill this paragraph, aren't I? Better try and think of some snappy ending to finish this on. Um...nope, can't think of one. Oh, wait! This will do...now, although I like dragging out articles for as long as I can, I'll stop writing for now. I could have written something about the remake of The Love Bug, but that starred the Scottish guy out of the two recent Mummy movies, and I can't be bothered to watch it again. I'll just get this image of a wimpy Scot running around Egypt screaming "LOOK AT ME OVER-ACT! MMM! THIS SCENERY IS SOME GOOD! I WILL CHEW IT FOREVER!" The Herbie movies are not so good, but they're passable as children's entertainment. Although Tennessee's "Hoibie" nonsense still makes me angry. If there's a message you should have learnt reading this two-part, uh, so-called spectacular Herbie movies review thing, it's this: get outside. Now!


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