American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
The question that haunted me during "Herbie: Fully Loaded" involved the degree of Herbie's intelligence. Is the car alive? Can it think? Does it have feelings? Can it really fall in love, or is its romance with that cute little yellow VW bug just a cynical ploy to get publicity, since it has a new movie coming out?
To the dim degree that I recall the premise of the earlier Herbie movies, none of which I seem to have reviewed or indeed seen, Herbie was essentially just a car. A car with a personality, a car that feelings and emotions could be projected upon, a car that sometimes seemed to have a mind of its own, but nevertheless a car existing in the world as we know it. In "Herbie: Fully Loaded," Herbie can blink his headlights and roll them from side to side, he can let his front bumper droop when he's depressed, and he can suddenly open his doors to cause trouble for people he doesn't like.
I see I have subconsciously stopped calling Herbie "it" and am now calling Herbie "he." Maybe I've answered my own question. If Herbie is alive, or able to seem alive, isn't this an astonishing breakthrough in the realm of Artificial Intelligence? That's if computer scientists, working secretly, programmed Herbie to act the way he does. On the other hand, if Herbie just sort of became Herbie on his own, then that would be the best argument yet for Intelligent Design.
Either way, a thinking car is a big story. It is an incredible, amazing thing. In "Herbie: Fully Loaded," Herbie becomes the possession of a young woman named Maggie (Lindsay Lohan), who is the daughter of a famous racing family headed by her dad (Michael Keaton). The family dynasty falls on hard times after her brother Ray Jr. (Breckin Meyer) gets caught in a slump.