Opening

18% Transcendence Apr 18
—— A Haunted House 2 Apr 18
47% Heaven Is for Real Apr 16
—— Bears Apr 18
64% Fading Gigolo Apr 18

Top Box Office

89% Captain America: The Winter Soldier $41.3M
49% Rio 2 $39.3M
71% Oculus $12.0M
62% Draft Day $9.8M
77% Noah $7.6M
40% Divergent $7.4M
14% God's Not Dead $5.5M
92% The Grand Budapest Hotel $4.1M
79% Muppets Most Wanted $2.3M
78% Mr. Peabody & Sherman $1.9M

Coming Soon

44% The Other Woman Apr 25
—— Brick Mansions Apr 25
75% The Amazing Spider-Man 2 May 02
100% Neighbors May 09
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—— The Soul Man: Season 3
—— Workaholics: Season 4

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—— Chicago Fire: Season 2
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80% The Mindy Project: Season 2
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56% The Originals: Season 1
100% Person Of Interest: Season 3
100% Supernatural: Season 9

Certified Fresh TV

77% About a Boy: Season 1
97% The Americans: Season 2
82% The Blacklist: Season 1
88% Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1
85% Enlisted: Season 1
98% Fargo: Season 1
98% Game of Thrones: Season 4
100% Hannibal: Season 2
96% Silicon Valley: Season 1

The Love Bug Reviews

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Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2011
Herbie is cute and hilarious, the love bug is an example of a non human main character that doesn't need to speak out to be adorable. The slapstick and smart comedy in this film is hilarious and makes this film a great memorable example of a classic disney production made after Walt's death.
Alexander D

Super Reviewer

July 26, 2011
An average, dull start to a somehow "classic" racing car series of Disney craps.
AJ V

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
My favourite kids movie of 68, it was so much better than I expected. It's funny and exciting too. I highly recommend it.
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2010
There are some films which can't be remade, some films which don't need to be remade, and some films which you really shouldn't remake. The Love Bug is all three, but not necessarily in a bad way. It's not that this old-fashioned family comedy is terrible, or unfunny, or particularly embarrassing. It is just so much a product of its time, in its conventions, its look and its general shiny innocence. The question of re-approaching it has already been answered, both by its original sequels and the more recent Herbie Fully Loaded. The real question is how much of its original appeal remains.

The Love Bug is notable for two things. One is being the highest grossing film of 1969; in the US alone it beat off Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider. On paper that sounds amazing, but it's less spectacular when you consider that Midnight Cowboy had an 'X' certificate on both sides of the Atlantic, and that Easy Rider's subject matter of druggie bikers was not exactly family fare. The other is that this is the last live-action film in which Walt Disney was personally involved; he died two years before the film's release, but supervised the scripting process and some of pre-production. Leading man Dean Jones would later credit the film's success to its faithful upholding of Walt's legacy and his original instructions.

As for the main appeal of the film, that also rests on two things: the rags-to-riches story of our hero, and the cuteness of the car. There is a famous story told about how the VW Beetle was chosen as the star. The Disney Company lined up a number of cars, including an MG, several Volvos and a Toyota, and the crew tested them by kicking the wheels and playing with the steering. When they came to the VW, they stroked it gently, treating it as an object of affection.

This gives you a general idea of how much of the film's appeal rests on you buying in to the cutesy nature of the car. To give it credit, it's not as overbearing as in the sequels; in Herbie Rides Again, for instance, the headlamps actually swivel like eyes. But we still have to endure many scenes which are overplayed just that little too much, like Herbie 'coughing' after Thorndyke puts Irish coffee in the petrol tank, or the scene where he tries to throw himself off the bridge, which slowly goes from being sad to making us feel silly for crying at a car being drowned.

As many critics have noted, The Love Bug has not aged as well as other Disney fare of the period. Several of the stunts not only look like stunts but they come across as completely out of kilter with the story. I don't believe in Herbie bouncing over the water, even if the resulting joke is funny. The director Robert Stevenson also helmed Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks, films in which live-action and animation seamlessly join and whose effects have not dated because the story is so captivating. But when it comes to doing stunts in the real world, rather than animating them around actors, Stephenson seems to come unstuck in a largely unsatisfying way.

But like many old films, the stunts are only there as the budget allows them. The main thing we have to focus on are the performances and the story in which we find them. Dean Jones is perfectly likeable if a little bland as Jim Douglas; with his chiselled jaw and warm complexion, he resembles Charlton Heston without the rough edges (or the guns). Buddy Hackett is less successful as Tennessee, retreading the same annoying ground of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, in which his character quickly runs out of steam.

The best performance by far is David Tomlinson, who starred as Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins. Here all the convivial and polite orderliness of that character is replaced with a shouty, scenery-chewing villain. His Thorndyke is reminiscent of Jack Lemmon's performance in The Great Race, with plenty of scheming, cunning and a lot of memorable line deliveries. The best moment finds him and his assistant Havershaw drinking champagne in their car, having pulled well ahead. Havershaw is about to make a quip about the drink, when Thorndyke says: "if you tell me that the bubbles tickle your nose, I SHALL PROBABLY KILL YOU!"

As for the story, it's much of a muchness. We've seen the rags-to-riches tale before, and there's no real attempt in the script to inject with anything more than the charm of the car. The race sequences are well-staged and interesting, but a lot of the dialogue scenes in between are forgettable, and the running jokes don't really work. The twist involving the Tang Wu character buying Herbie isn't played as strongly as it could have been, although it does give David Tomlinson a couple more opportunities to laugh his way gleefully across the screen.

At heart, The Love Bug is pure escapism. It does not exist to be appreciated artistically, or to be thematically dissected by critics and film historians. It isn't the most original film in the world, and the performances are not award-worthy in either sense. But you would have to have a heart of stone to not be even slightly charmed by the film. It is as manageable in small doses as it is at full length, and contains nothing which will go over the heads of the young children for which it is intended. It's not Disney's finest hour by any real stretch, but as carefree, Saturday afternoon entertainment, in one ear and out the other, you can't really fault it.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 28, 2009
My favourite Herbie movie!
Phil H

Super Reviewer

August 8, 2007
Easily the best Herbie flick and one of the best live action Disney films. Great effects, nice acting, Disney pro Dean Jones again with brilliant back up from another Disney pro Tomlinson and a cute story. I loved this as a kid and still do, the final long race is also quite exciting and good fun. The US DVD is loaded with extras.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

November 23, 2008
Delightful wild and hilarious roller-coaster ride! Amazing Disney comedy aobut a Volkswagen with a mind of it's own; subtle it ain't, but the slapstick and stunts are great fun to watch.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2007
great flick
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

May 29, 2007
Slapstick Disney fare for (very) young children involving a living VW beetle that has comic misadventures while trying to win a race. Or something. It's very difficult to care if you're over the age of 8.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

January 31, 2007
You have to love the kids version of the Knight Rider.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

September 13, 2007
Cute. Buddy Hackett is quite a funny sidekick.
mingsysar
mingsysar

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2006
Herbie! Dean Jones! Disney!
April 21, 2012
"The Love Bug" really caught me by surprise. I remember loving this film as a kid, but it is not a kid's movie. There is a lot of high brow humor and poignant thematic material that went right over my head 20 years ago and now resonate as an adult. Even more amazing than its appeal for adults and children alike is Disney's ability to turn a car into a character that shows compassion, jealousy, and many other emotions (hmm, sound like another film of the computer animated variety that would appear 40 years later?) The success begins with solid live actors, the most memorable being David Tomlinson (the father from "Mary Poppins") as Peter Thorndyke. He is the perfect comic villain, just mean enough to make you root against him but unquestionably the funniest character of the film. The irony is that the villain is not trying to harm any person; rather, he wants to destroy the car that "has it out for him." Next we have our lead, played by Dean Jones. His character undergoes the most changes by being humbled as a racecar driver, by falling in love, and by discovering the value of friendship (an ever-present theme in Disney films). Solid performance. Michele Lee's spunky character is my favorite as she serves two purposes - she is the love interest and she helps the lead to understand the value of friendship. Buddy Hackett is the comic relief and is as entertaining as ever. Finally, we have the hero - a Volkswagen Beetle. Herbie is so much more than a car. He has as many emotions as any character in any movie out there. Even more impressive is the fact that he does not have facial expressions, so his "operators" had to portray his sadness, drunkenness, and jealousy through his "mannerisms" as he drives. Only Disney could be so successful with this concept. These multi-faceted characters are what elevate this film beyond a children's film. It's a comedy, but instead of thinking "look at the silly car drive around," we are drawn to the moral and ethical dilemmas of its characters. The film has many racing sequences, but they never feel monotonous since each of the short sequences has something to make it unique. Just when the short sequences begin to feel monotonous, they throw in the gigantic racing finale. Every aspect of the film adds to its atmosphere, including the San Francisco landscape and the fun musical score by George Bruns. The music often resembles a car horn and always leaves a smile on my face. Don't write this off just because "it's that movie with a goofy car" - there is a lot more to Herbie than meets the eye as this film will make you laugh, cry, and feel every emotion between!
allefra25
September 1, 2008
I saw it on an airplane when I was seven. Not interesting then, not interesting now. Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo shows promise however.
October 9, 2007
This movie has sentimental value in my family because it was the movie that my mom and dad saw on their first date. Cute little flick with some good laughs.
August 1, 2008
A pretty enjoyable 60's family film, that may have the label of being "cute," but is really an all-around fun film. While the special effects are dated, the stunts are impressive for their time and with great comic relief from Buddy Hackett, there isn't one reason why you can't find a little bit of the kid inside of you.
firstamb
July 9, 2008
The best movie in the Love Bug franchize, for Disney, as the cute little Beetle and his owner goes off on a racing adventure.
December 16, 2007
i had this movie, and watched it until the tape fried (yep, this was on vhs). its funny and good for kids. im sure lindsey lohan botched the hell outta the remake
CaireBaire
November 11, 2007
Okay, there's no Lindsay Lohan messin' this one up -- since this is the ORIGINAL!! Loved this movie when I was a wee girl!! Fond memories!
September 12, 2007
This film is an example of all the elements that make a movie coming together perfectly. This simple tale of an out-of-luck race driver who is "adopted" by a living car is Disney magic at its best.
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