The Love Bug (1997)

Genres - Children's/Family, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy, Screwball Comedy  |   Release Date - Nov 30, 1997 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Future Bring It On director Peyton Reed gets his feet wet with this ill-advised but inoffensive update of The Love Bug, designed for a Sunday-night television audience with little on the mind. Alas, the presence of square-jawed cult actor Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead 2) doesn't get played for irony, as everything about the project is very straightforward and above-board. Herbie the car may be returning to the spotlight after a 30-year layoff (though it had been only 17 since Herbie Goes Bananas). But the movie itself is stuck in the past, frequently corny, and acted as if the Volkswagen would be able to distract from all shortcomings. At this budget, however, there's no money to make the car an interesting special effect in synch with modern filmmaking capabilities. The poor thing doesn't even have a personality beyond emitting frail horn honks that make him sound like a dying turtle. The souped-up Horace the Hate Bug, black as night and meaner than his evil owner (John Hannah, munching scenery), is a cute idea, but, like everything else, gets under-executed. No more effort was put into this movie than to make a piece of throwaway Disney fluff, so there's little point in any harsher assessment of its quality.