2004
Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and brief nudity.
Genre: Comedy Romance Drama
Directed By: Andy Cadiff
Running Time: 1:51
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 3/20/05
DVD Features:
Audio Commentaries - 1. Mandy Moore - Star, Matthew Goode - Star
Additional Scenes
Gag Reel
Featurettes - 1. "Passport to Europe: Behind the Scenes With Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode"
Music Videos - 1. The Roots Concert
Trailers - 1. Theatrical Trailer
CHASING LIBERTY

 

Annie is just like every other teen. Sure, she's the president's daughter and she can't walk around without being bombarded with over-protective secret service agents, but she's just like everyone else her age. She puts her socks on one foot at a time like us, and she wakes up at the white house just like every girl her age... well, maybe she's not *exactly* like every other girl her age, I mean she's the president's daughter for god sake, and she's oppressed. I guess being good looking and having the life of first class isn't exactly fitting to her free will, independent nature.

So Annie is seeking freedom the hard way after a botched date thanks to her less than stealth secret service following her around. So, she escapes the clutches of her over-protective father and travels all around Europe in search of a festival in Rome. Moore is more likely more believable as the president's daughter than Katie Holmes, but the situations and similarities to the other president's daughter flick is remarkable, but Moore is also very likable and charming here, so we actually care what happens to her on her wild adventures (Bungee Jumping--how rebellious). Regardless of my evident sarcasm towards this movie, I admit I wasn't disappointed after having seen this.

Moore is likable and charming to watch here as an ephemeral Audrey Hepburn stuck in this "Roman Holiday" meets "It Happened one night" (sans major stars and intelligence) tale of romance and travel. Moore is sexy and seems to maturing from young wannabe pop starlet to seasoned and beautiful actress with a lot of potential I plan on following through her career, and she's a lot of fun to watch here with some good sweet fluffy fun within her adventures through Europe. She's charming throughout the entire film and though the plot leaves a lot to be desired, Moore makes use from what she has out of this vehicle. Matthew Goode is charming as the love interest and never over plays his role. We usually experience bland actors for love interests as experienced in many of the teeny bopper films of the past, but here Goode is actually likable and low-key as the co-star and obvious love interest. The real treat are the lands and countries we get to see with the incredible landscapes and beautiful country sides that director Andy Cadiff makes use of with some good cinematography courtesy of Ashley Rowe who supplies the audience with some amazing scenes of Rome and Italy and London that's pretty cool.

While that other duplicate "First Daughter" has been compared to this over and over since this basically came out at the same release time, I'm pretty sure it isn't better in quality, because the plots look basically the same with a good actor as president being wasted. At least with "First Daughter" I can look forward to Michael Keaton. The film
doesn't apply logic to its story as don't it's screenwriters whose characters are so broadly sketched, it's ridiculous. Annie is a whiny self-important little brat, and there's really not a reason for the audience to like her in spite of Mandy Moore being charming, Matthew Goode is simply the brooding love interest with no personality worth knowing about, Annabella Sciorra and Jeremy Piven are characters that we never really know, but we get a sub-plot with them nonetheless, and their sub-plot was least interesting because they were badly under-used and their dialogue is minimal, as are their chemistry.

What I wondered was, how can a movie with so much beautiful scenery and eye candy that travels through Europe be so void of any substance or anything even worth mentioning? The plot is so bland despite its possibilities and everything is just so artificial with the dialogue and tender moments between the characters, and I never bought any of it, and not even the clichés made me chuckle, and boy are there clichés (!), with all the clueless agents mysteriously hired with the most important job in the world but can't follow one girl , the mysterious British fellow who obviously becomes the love interest in the movie, and all the stereotypical Europeans from the Gondola driver who spouts every known Italian catchphrase, right down to the Europeans who mysteriously speak English in their own land.

Even the Austrians can speak English, but, hey, this is Hollywood after all. Not to mention the plot holes here were pretty annoying to even contemplate and made the story much harder to buy. The president wastes precious tax money on an army of agents to
look for his daughter? That's it? And if these people are trained agents why do they stick out like sore thumbs? And Ben is supposed to protect Anna and keep her from bungee jumping, so why does he strap himself to her in the next sequence? Is this a scene cut from the original print that we can only see on the DVD? And Annie's character is so sketched in broad strokes that we're never certain as to what her goals are in the story. Does she want to completely emancipate from her family, or does she just want to have freedom to have fun and live a regular life? Nonetheless Annie was unlikable and the film was messy in many points.

It's run of the mill with no substance, depth, or creativity despite it's beautiful setting and scenery, and the characters are broadly done, but I had fun while watching and it's a nice film to check out for a good time.

 

 

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