I have seen the film. And I still cannot understand the ways in which Herbie is actually fully loaded. VW Bugs are small, but to load them fully you want the trunk full up and a couple of kids in the back. Whilst Lindsay Lohan seems to be smuggling a pair of small children in her T-Shirt, just putting her in the car does not fully load it.

Anyway, that aside, Herbie: Full Loaded is the You Only Live Twice of the Herbie series – a slight return to form. What am I saying, Herbie films are cheesy nonsense? And H:FL opens with a cheesy junk yard scene of Herb squirting oil at a nasty car junker. Nothing that would have been out of place thirty years ago. The kids in the cinema laughed like drains. You know, gurgly drains which make laughing noises.

Nevertheless same old Herbie and the endlessly entertaining Lohan (no-one turns to the dark side and then repents like her, nobody) is no match for the undescribably dull NASCAR racing the film falls into being about. IT IS DRIVING CARS IN AN OVAL. There is barely any room for Herbie’s usual tricks. No splitting apart and come first and third for them (still the definitive Herbie moment from The Love Bug). Also the film straddles fantasy and reality uncomfortably. Lohan dreams of being the first major female NASCAR winner which may be a reality but considering the numerous female racers in previous Herbie movies it seems a step back. Even if those women were there primarily as Dean Jones’s love interests, they were seen to be good, competent contenders. And you also have to bear in mind that Lohan herself pretty much accepts that all of her success is down to Herbie. So you think about the sexism, and notice that this is a remarkably white film. Again, probably referencing the whiteness of NASCAR, you would imagine it was not an overly conscious decision by Angela Robinson the director (who is black, and a lesbian, and made an equally fun lesbian Charlies’ Angels schoolgirl romp DEBS a while back which is almost the anti-Herbie in daring).

What I am trying to say is that Herbie: Fully Loaded is basically a continuation of a remarkably safe franchise. But that franchise might not be the Herbie one, but rather the third film in the National Velvet trilogy. NASCAR Velvet is about the teenage girl who battles to compete. Nice safe, positive messages. Except the one sour note: namely that Herbie rides off with a new VW Beetle in the final reel. He(r)bie is 37. The new VW She-Bie or Her-Bie (cheers Alang) can be no older that 9. I bet Disney did not consider Herbie being a paedophile as a potential message of the film.