HERBIE: FULLY LOADED (G, 101 minutes)
A charmless, half-baked vehicle for Lindsay Lohan, "Herbie: Fully Loaded" updates the 1968 Disney feature "The Love Bug" (G) and its sequels, "Herbie Rides Again" (1974), "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) and "Herbie Goes Bananas" (1980). Only the little beat-up VW bug itself -- or rather, himself -- with the lidded headlights that wink, the bumper that sags when he's sad, the oil that squirts and the hubcaps that pop off when he's angry, brings charm or purpose to this otherwise cliched and predictable movie. Kids 7 and older may enjoy watching the little car that could and the racing sequences. The film contains mild sexual innuendo: A champion race car driver tells his assistant to get photos of the women who send him their phone numbers; Herbie's aerial goes up in a way that adults (and some kids) may take as a sexual joke when he sees a pretty new VW bug. There are scenes of risky driving that could frighten little ones, especially when Herbie seems scared.
After an opening montage of Herbie's glory days, we see him dumped in a junkyard. Then we meet Maggie (Lohan), the daughter and sister of NASCAR racers. Her dad (Michael Keaton) takes her to the junkyard to choose a jalopy for the summer, and there sits Herbie. Maggie gets him and gradually realizes how special he is. At an auto fair with her old high school crush (Justin Long), now a mechanic, Maggie and Herbie outrace an obnoxious NASCAR hero (Matt Dillon) who demands a rematch.
BEWITCHED (PG-13, 105 minutes)
Clever people have put a happy spell on this sparkly, refreshingly off-center reimagining of the 1964-72 TV series. Despite an abrupt finale, in which characters and plot lines get lost, this "Bewitched" proves a surprising, if unprofound, treat. Tweens and teens who like fantasy will find the film's story-within-a-story premise beguiling and the cast -- Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine -- highly watchable. The PG-13 reflects occasional insults using crude sexual slang in a nonsexual context. The film also contains milder sexual innuendo, a comic moment of implied nudity and a joke about drug use. There are scenes of drinking. Some parents will find the witchcraft theme objectionable.
Ferrell plays washed-up movie star Jack Wyatt, who hopes to rejuvenate his career in a TV update of the old "Bewitched" sitcom, but in his version, the "normal" husband Darren will be the star and his wife, the good witch Samantha, a secondary character. Using a tinkly Marilyn Monroe voice, Kidman plays Isabel, a real witch who wants to set aside her powers so she can find a husband and be normal. Her warlock father (Caine) thinks she's silly. One day, Jack spies Isabel twitching her nose in a bookstore. He thinks she'd make the perfect Samantha. She gets the part, never letting on she's the real thing. With the actress (MacLaine) playing Samantha's mother, Endora, observing closely, Isabel gets wise to Jack's ego games and all bets are off.