(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The Love Bug)
Doug (vo): Have you ever wanted to see a child-friendly version of Christine? Well, The Love Bug is it.
Doug (vo): This is the story about Herbie, a car who is, in fact, alive. He attaches himself to a driver, played by Dean Jones, who’s down on his luck and can barely pay the bills. So he tries to find a new car to enter some races with. Of course, Herbie doesn’t seem like the kind of car to win a lot of races, but it follows him home. So he strikes up a deal with the guy who owns the car, played by David Tomlinson, who hands him over, and, sure enough, he’s winning a ton of races now. But Tomlinson, who, of course, is a racer himself, starts to catch on himself that the car is alive, and so, he makes Dean Jones a deal: Whoever wins the most races will officially own the car, no more payments needed. So, quite literally, the race is on to see who can win and who will take permanent ownership of Herbie.
Doug (vo): Of course, being a Disney film, there’s side characters, there’s romance, there’s a lot of goofy comedy, and a lot of great visuals. When you actually say this synopsis to yourself, though, a car that’s alive, what do you really expect out of this? I think going in with that mindset, you might find that the movie is actually a bit better than you think it might be. But again, going in with the mindset that it’s about a car that’s alive. First off, the car doesn't talk or have any eyes or a mouth or anything like that. It’s all just done through its actions, which some would argue wouldn't form that much of a personality, but with the passion and caring that the side characters as well as the direction takes, you do sort of get an idea what he’s like. He’s energetic, he’s thoughtful, he’s kind, but he’s also very easy to offend. He’s got a big heart and always wants to do what is right, even if he can get a little jealous at times. Heck, he can get downright depressed. There’s actually a scene where he tries to commit suicide. Yeah, it’s that kind of weird, frigging movie. So if you can allow the goofiness of this to kind of set in, it’s actually kind of enjoyable in just how goofy it is. It strangely works, because even though there is a lot of comedy and goofy moments, the direction actually takes it kind of seriously. In fact, you kind of laugh at how seriously it’s being taken sometimes. Again, a car committing suicide. Really think about that without laughing. It’s taking a goofy subject so seriously that, after a while, when you’re done laughing at it, you, too, almost kind of take it seriously. Well, the key word being "almost".
[The film's characters are shown]
Doug (vo): Dean Jones is a good lead, Michele Lee is good support, Buddy Hackett is...Buddy Hackett. Again, it just sort of adds to the goofiness.
[The film's villain, Peter Thorndyke, is shown]
Doug (vo): But easily, the best part is David Tomlinson as the villain. It’s strange that he’s been in so many Disney films, but he’s never straight-up been the bad guy. He was a hero in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and in Mary Poppins, he wasn't really a villain, he was just sort of lead in the wrong direction. But here, he’s a straight-up baddie, and, oh, my God, does he just relish every moment of it. Look at that snobby smile, look at those eyes fume whenever he gets angry, listen to that voice whenever he screams.
Peter Thorndyke: [various scenes] I demand that the thing is impounded and checked! / I've finished being Generous George! / Blast you, Havershaw! How dare you patronize me! / I tell you, there's more going on here than meets the eye! / Havershaw! / I am not losing my nerve! / I've got to find out what!
Doug (vo): You can’t help but laugh every time he’s onscreen. He steals every single moment. The slapstick, as well as the driving in this movie, is pretty damn impressive. Again, it’s over-the-top, it’s cartoony, it’s so silly, but, yeah, it gets a giggle. I think my absolute favorite is when Tomlinson gets knocked into the car and they find out how he’s in there.
Peter Thorndyke: Get me out of here!
Doug (vo): I piss my pants every time I see that scene. Some scenes are definitely a product of the times, but actually, that can get a good laugh, too. Like here’s something that definitely only makes sense back then, but it’s still really hilarious.
[A scene plays, showing Carole being trapped inside Herbie and begging two hippies for help]
Carole: Help! I'm a prisoner! I can't get out!
Hippie: We're all prisoners, chicky baby. We're all locked in.
Doug (vo): It’s all for something so silly as "a car is alive". But again, you kind of give it credit that it never quite went too far, like I said, as giving it a face or, like, a voice or anything like that. That would've been total overkill. But this, this is just the right amount of goofy. If I did have a major criticism of it, I would say it is a little too long. There’s only so many times we can see Dean Jones get sad and then brought back up, and then it looks like they’re gonna lose and then they’re back in the game again, and then they have to convince somebody else that Herbie’s alive, and, yeah, it’s sort of repetitive. It could've used a real trimming.
Doug (vo): But again, for what we could've gotten, this isn't that bad, or, at least, it’s entertainingly bad, but with good elements that kind of make it entertainingly good, I...oh, I don’t know. Just say the phrase, "It’s a movie about a car that’s alive". If you have no interest in an idea like that, then you’re not gonna like this movie. But if you’re even remotely interested, I say there’s a chance that this could actually get some good laughs out of you. It’s hard for me not to like it. There’s just something so innocent and silly about it, as well as a lot of effort. Yeah, it’s stupid, but I can’t help but like it. Herbie will always have a place in my mechanical heart.
[The film's final scene, showing Herbie driving Jim and Carole through a busy street, is shown]