Top critical review
Wheely great ... if you're under ten
on 30 December 2014
The further slapstick adventures of a VW bug with a mind of it's own. Basically, an attempt to replicate the success of 'The Love Bug' (1968) by borrowing most of its plot and bringing back Dean Jones as Jim Douglas although this time there's a bit of fashionable (for the late 70's) women's lib. Herbie races through France to Monaco, falls in love with a 'sexy' Lancia and does lots of silly stunts (which will amuse the kids). So far, so deja vu except two thieves (Bernard Fox and Roy Kinnear) have stolen a diamond and put it in Herbie's petrol tank. Added to this, there's a feisty redhead (Julie Sommars), a boring rivalry with a nasty Teuton (Eric Braeden) and a couple of inept coppers (Jacques Marin, Xavier Saint Macary) on the trail of the precious stone. Plenty of work for the driver doubles in this 1977 production who might as well be credited as the main stars of the film for the amount of screen time they get. Amusingly, they look nothing like the people they're doubling for (check out Roy Kinnear's 'double'). Actually, I'm not even sure whether any of the actors left Hollywood for this as nearly all of their scenes are studio back-projection. The best things about it: a few of the stunts, the affable Jones, rubber faced TV regular Don Knotts's ferocious 'mugging' as mechanic 'Wheely Applegate', Kinnear, Fox and Xavier Saint Macary who looks and acts uncannily like Borat - it's almost as if Sacha Baron-Cohen based his character on him. Anyone under ten will love it, more discerning viewers will chortle at its many flaws.