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Herbie Rides Again
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this movie's humor is tame by today's standards, the slapstick silliness will still amuse children 6 and up. Younger kids will be amused by the loveable car, but some of the action may require an explanation. Older kids will enjoy the thrilling chases and the zany humor. And who can resist a spunky car who champions the helpless?
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What's the story?
It's Herbie to the rescue when an unscrupulous developer schemes to take a widow's home. In HERBIE RIDES AGAIN, the famous VW bug with a mind of its own teams up with lawyer Willoughby Whitfield (Ken Berry) to stop Willoughby's uncle Alonzo (Keenan Wynn), a greedy real estate developer, from bullying sweet Mrs. Steinmetz (Helen Hayes) into selling her San Francisco home. Willoughby falls for Mrs. Steinmetz's niece Nicole (Stefanie Powers), and Herbie rallies every VW in the city to help stop Alonzo. In a particularly amusing scene, Mrs. Steinmetz blithely rides through San Francisco, never taking her eyes off her knitting, as she and Herbie are pursued by thugs in big, bullying cars.
Is it any good?
Herbie Rides Again nearly rises to the level of its predecessor, The Love Bug. Helen Hayes and Keenan Wynn's well-matched antagonism furthers the romance of a young couple. Lots of sight gags, bluster, and comic revenge will capture the grade school crowd's attention. Though younger viewers may need an explanation of some of the motives and action, this is a fine family feature. Helen Hayes' comedic turn as an unflappably sweet grandmother (which won her a Best Actress nomination in 1975) provides a fun counter to Keenan Wynn's gruff bluster. As in the first Herbie feature, the little car never misses a chance to score off the villain. The driving scenes are mostly funny (under and on top of water, along the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge) and only occasionally scary (along the ledges of a high-rise office building).
The romance between Willoughby and Nicole manages not to slow things down too much, although it's unnecessary to the plot. The blossoming romance between Mrs. Steinmetz and rancher Mr. Judson is a lot more fun to watch. Seven- and 11-year-old sisters were amused and only occasionally restless while viewing. There's nothing to dislike or distrust about this movie, and plenty for the whole gang to enjoy.
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