Herbie Rides Again (1974)

G   |    |  Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Herbie Rides Again (1974) Poster

The living Volkswagen Beetle helps an old lady protect her home from a corrupt developer.


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2 July 2003 | elwileycoyote
tired and uninspired sequel
In the first movie, Herbie was a real personality and he could be jealous, angry, depressed or suicidal and even intoxicated. The viewer saw that there was a special bond between car and owner. But in this sequel, again set in San Francisco, the bond is with Helen Hayes and Herbie instead of the man. Stephanie Powers as the love interest is too violent and aggressive, and her character played against the wimpy Ken Berry comes across as downright harsh--there is no chemistry between them (unlike Dean Jones and Michelle Lee in the original film). In various scenes, she is seen assaulting Berry.In one scene they are having lunch at Fisherman's Wharf and she stands up and smacks him in the face with a lobster ("He's YOUR uncle?!") Is this really supposed to be funny?

But in this uninspired sequel, the real star is Helen Hayes--not the car and certainly not with Ken Berry, who merely becomes a supporting character in this. Helen Hayes, as an old lady battling a developer, is seen in various life-threatening situations in the movie. In various surreal scenes, Haye's character is knitting while riding Herbie,impervious to the danger around her as Herbie scales a skyscraper or rides atop the Golden Gate Bridge. She is sickeningly sacharrin sweet but she plays her scenes well.

The climax of this movie is weak, and it is really a collection of surreal scenes involving Herbie and Helen Hayes. There is no romance and no racing, both of which were key elements which made the original such a success. This movie was made in the transitional period, between the really great Disney classics like "Mary Poppins" and the excellent productions that Disney puts out today. The movie and plot are very predictable as is the inevitable outcome. Naturally, there's no way that the outcome is realistic as city zoning laws forbid houses in a district of skyscrapers.

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