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HERBIE: Fully Loaded

movie trailer (quicktime)

During the opening credits we are reintroduced to the once famous Herbie - The Love Bug. We see shots from the various Herbie movies and learn that he was once a great race car. We then learn that he slowly fell upon hard times. He was no longer competitive and we are left to wonder where he is now.

We then cut to the present day and see a truck delivering Herbie to a wrecking yard. Herbie is in bad shape. He sees other cars being demolished and puts up a fight when they try to unload it.

We then see a college graduation ceremony. Maggie Payton (Lindsay Lohan) almost misses the ceremony but skateboards up at the last second and receives her diploma. After the ceremony she sees her best friend pull up in a fancy new car, a graduation present. We then learn Maggie's story.

Maggie will be spending the next few weeks living back at home with her dad, Ray Payton (Michael Keaton), owner of the Payton Racing team. His father started the team, Ray made it famous and now Maggie's brother Ray Jr is the driver. The Payton Racing Team has been in a slump. Truth be told, Ray Jr just isn't a very good racer. They are slowly losing their sponsorships and may have to close up shop.

Growing up a Payton, Maggie was once a great "Street Racer" but an accident in High School put an end to all that. Her father refuses to let Maggie race again. Instead, Maggie is soon to be heading to New York to work as an assistant producer for ESPN.

Ray decides to get a car for Maggie as a graduation present but since they don't have much money, all he can do is bring her to the junk yard and tells her to pick out whatever she wants. She goes from car to car, never really seeing Herbie although Herbie keeps trying to get her attention while he's being lifted to the crusher. Finally, just as she chooses a car, Herbie drops down right on top of it. Frustrated, Maggie just says, I'll take the bug.

She pays the wrecker and her dad tells her to bring the car to his shop and they'll check it out.

As soon as Maggie gets inside the car the glove compartment opens revealing a letter asking the new owner to please take care of Herbie. Herbie now takes control and gives a screaming Maggie a wild ride through the back streets of the town, ending up in a garage of an old high school buddy of Maggie, Kevin (Justin Long). Kevin was Maggie's mechanic during all her street racing days.

Kevin agrees to help fix up Herbie and gets in with Maggie to for a test drive. Herbie takes over and races through town, bringing them to a car show featuring the current Nascar champion, Trip Murphy (Matt Dillon). While there, Herbie sprays oil on Maggie's shirt (oil spraying is Herbie's favorite trick as he does it throughout the movie). Luckily there is a racing jumpsuit and helmet in the trunk so Maggie changes into the suit. Herbie knocks Maggie into the helmet (that says Max on it) and when she drives away Herbie extends his side mirror causing it to scratch Trip's fancy street car.

A pissed off Trip confronts "Max" and somehow there is a street race challenge between the two of them. Herbie takes over as Maggie just kind of screams during the race but eventually she learns to control the car and uses an impressive skateboard maneuver, riding the rail of a fence to pass Trip and win the challenge. ESPN is there and films the whole thing.

Later that day, back at home, her dad's main sponsor Sally (Cheryl Hines) brings by a tape of the race to show Ray just for laughs. No one likes Trip so she thought it would be funny. Instead, Ray sees Herbie winning the race and confronts Maggie but Maggie swears that it was her friend Max driving the car.

Back at his shop, Trip just can't stop thinking about Herbie and how he lost to a Volkswagon. He decides to have a rematch. He sponsors a $10,000 challenge to all street racers. It's a 2 day event. The first day finding the local street champ, then the 2nd day Trip will challenge that champ to a match race.

Kevin and Maggie restore Herbie so he's now looking sharp, ready for action. "Max" races and wins the first day of competition. That night Trip approaches Maggie and lets her drive his Nascar car so she can see what a real car feels like. While she's out driving he inspects Herbie but Herbie just does a lot of oil spitting type of practical jokes on him.

Maggie returns and Trip offers her a deal. If Maggie wins, she can have the Nascar car. If Trip wins, he gets Herbie. (Trip knows who the real Max is) Maggie agrees but Herbie doesn't like it.

The next day a dejected Herbie driven by "Max" and Trip in his street racer line up. There is a huge crowd there including Ray and Ray Jr. The race begins and it's back and forth. Finally Herbie takes the lead going down to the finish and Maggie shouts out that she wants to win the Nascar! Herbie is pissed and slams on the brakes right before the finish line. Trip passes them and wins. The crowd is shocked! They are even more shocked when "Max" steps out of the car and takes off his helmet revealing that it is actually Maggie. A stunned Ray leaves the race track in disgust. He can't believe that Maggie had lied to him.

Trip loads up Herbie and takes him away.

Maggie can't believe what she has done. She can't believe that she has let her father, Kevin and especially Herbie down. She approaches Trip to buy the car back but it's too late; he has sold Herbie to the owner of the local demolition derby.

Maggie heads out to the Derby and is shocked to see a trembling Herbie in the middle of the ring, ready to be demolished. The owner says that if Herbie survives in one piece, she can have him. Maggie rushes out to the rings, dodging cars as she runs towards Herbie. Herbie sees her and ejects his current driver through the sunroof. Herbie does a somersault type maneuver and picks up Maggie and she drives around the ring and eventually crushes the Monster truck that was ready to destroy Herbie. Maggie and the now smashed up Herbie limp back to Kevin's garage.

Meanwhile, back at Payton Racing, Ray Jr qualifies for that weekends Nascar race but crashes and injures himself after qualifying. The doctor won't let him race. Ray Jr tells his dad that the only person that can race now is Maggie. Ray refuses. Maggie is the spitting image of his dead wife and he won't lose her twice.

Back at Kevins garage, a dejected Maggie and Kevin are trying to decide what to do with Herbie. Kevin is out of money. Suddenly, the Payton Racing team show up led by Ray Jr. He says his dad always wanted him to take more of a leadership role with the team and he's doing that now. He tells Maggie that he wants her to drive. Maggie says, to Herbie's delight, that she learned her lesson. She'll do it but only if she drives Herbie. Ray Jr. agrees and the next thing you know (start up the Rocky music) Herbie is being transformed by the Payton team into a real Nascar race car.

The race is the next day and Herbie is instantly the crowd favorite. The race begins and the real racers take off leaving Herbie and Maggie in the dust. They can't believe how fast those cars go. Eventually Herbie catches up with them and the race is on. Herbie is fighting it out with the leaders and they are boxing him in. Maggie is getting scared and doesn't know what to do. Suddenly a voice comes over her headset. It's her father! He's prouder than ever and is determined to help coach her to a victory. Herbie does some amazing moves and wins the race!

Trip is furious and is taken away in an ambulance, not because he's hurt, but because he is going crazy, shouting and screaming that Herbie is alive.

Maggie's dreams of being a Nascar champion have come true and she and Herbie are adored by the crowd and by especially, her father.

That night we see Ray come out of the house and look out. We can't see who he is talking to but he is telling them not to stay out too late, typical father type advice. We then see that he's talking to Herbie and Sally's car, a newer VW Bug. The two cars slowly drive away.

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