A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some Asian stereotyping, as represented by a Chinese character speaking in pidgin fortune-cookie aphorisms and Buddy Hackett's goofy misrepresentation of Tibetan wisdom.
Positive Role Models
Obvious stereotypes of Asian Americans. The English character is a fussy snob. "Hippies" act spacey and out-of-it.
Violence & Scariness
The establishing shots at the beginning of the movie show a demolition derby in the midst of numerous crashes. A despondent Herbie is shown hanging precariously on the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge, in an imitation of someone about to commit suicide. Reckless driving in some scenes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man ogles a saleswoman's legs while she holds a suggestive sign.
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Products & Purchases
Herbie is a Volkswagen Bug. Lead character desires fancier sports cars, buys a Lamborghini.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Thorndyke gets Herbie "drunk" by pouring Irish Coffee into his gas tank; Tennessee later jokes that Herbie is hungover. Thorndyke and Tennessee get drunk on "Irish Coffee." Characters drink sherry, wine, champagne. Cigarette smoking. Some jokes involving hippies who act like they might be high on something; one cop tells another cop who is behaving strangely that he has been "on that Haight-Ashbury beat too long."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Love Bug is a 1968 comedy about a Volkswagen Bug that seems to come to life when a struggling race car driver takes the wheel. There are some moments of dated humor rooted in stereotyping. For instance, Asian American characters speak in broken English, keep dried squid in the passenger seat, use an abacus for math, and their appearance is greeted with "Chopsticks"-like background music. In one scene, Herbie, in an imitation of suicide, is shown hanging precariously off the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge and must be talked down. The villain gets Herbie "drunk" on the "Irish Coffee" he had been drinking with Herbie's mechanic; the mechanic later makes reference to Herbie being hungover. Some jokes involving hippies who act like they might be high on something; one cop tells another cop who is behaving strangely that he has been "on that Haight-Ashbury beat too long." Cigarette smoking. Reckless driving, although exaggerated and comical. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While 1968's THE LOVE BUG shows its age, it still provides lots of entertainment. This movie seems to exist in a different Disney universe from that of the studio's earlier features: one populated by hippies, mock-mystic mechanics, and pants-wearing career women.
Peter Thorndyke makes a fine villain: oily, bullying, and deliciously underhanded. Buddy Hackett's Tennessee, on the other hand, isn't nearly as much fun, and audiences will likely wince at the racial stereotyping presented by Mr. Wu. Kids, of course, are meant to identify with Herbie, the Love Bug himself.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.