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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 5.63%
Just Average: 26.76%
Pretty Crappy: 28.17%
Sucks: 7.04%

5 reviews, 41 user ratings

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Chasing Liberty
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by Jason Whyte

"The president's daughter wishes she could live the Lizzie McGuire movie."
2 stars

Wouldn't it be nice, for once, to see the gorgous, talented Mandy Moore, a singer who has made a noticeable cross over to motion pictures, actually appear in a real movie? One that isn't bred by the studio from old ideas and tired cliches?

Here's the 21 year old who, after a few pop albums, showed up in "A Walk To Remember" as a devoted Christian who calms down a wild teenager. In "The Princess Diaries," she played a hellion teenager always bickering with Anne Hathaway's princess character. And in the confused, wandering, aimless "How To Deal," we saw her battle depression, and, like, growing up and stuff. Her latest movie, "Chasing Liberty," is arguably her biggest studio movie to date, and, ironically, it's the first movie to be released this year into the January dumping ground. The girl deserves a better, more serious movie that get a limited-then-wide release in December.

Does her agent accept scripts on auto-pilot? What cute guy she gets to kiss? In this movie, she plays Anna, the daughter to the president, protected every waking second. And she's all bottled up and craves freedom. Consider the opening scene of the film, where her date's flowers are "checked" by security guards (Anna is still moved by the flowers, cheerily saying "These flowers died for my country!"). And her father (Mark Harmon, free of all the wit and charm he had in last year's fine "Freaky Friday" remake) refuses to let her be more independent.

When business takes the family to Prague, Anna wants to meet up with one of her friends and go to a concert without protection. "Two agents," her dad offers, and she accepts. When at the concert and Anna finds out that she's hounded by more Secret Service, she flees and runs onto the motorcycle of Ben (Matthew Goode...no, not who you're thinking) and takes off to freedom. Unbeknownst to Anna, Ben is with the secret service himself, ordered by the president to be with her thinking that she's free, yet is under proper protection. Anna is also being tracked by two other secret service agents (played by the likable Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra) who bicker and argue with each other because, of course, they like each other. Ahh, the subplot.

Anna and Ben's plight lead them in a travelogue of sorts from Prague to Venice, to Austria and finally to Berlin, in a series of segments that are "kinda cute" but smack of every normalcy offered in every other similar studio picture. Everyone speaks english. A cute grandma and gondolier rower let Anna and Ben stay over when they run out of money. The two leads hitch a ride into Austria and there's the obligatory fleet of goats blocking the road. And what is becoming an annoying trend in movies these days is to have people throwing cell phones into bridges or into fires. It even happens in very good movies, too (Marie Josee-Croze throws a cell phone off a bridge in "Maelstrom" and into a fire in "The Barbarian Invasions," but those were much better movies with better reasonings for cellular destroying), but here, it seems to happen whenever people get annoyed too much. Cell phones cost a lot of money, people! Their providers would be pretty ticked, I'm sure, especially because their phones seem to track a digital signal all the way out into the middle of the country. My cell phone can't even cover digital in the water between Vancouver Island and the Mainland. Set me up with one of those movie cell phones!

Okay, I've ventured off the track too much. My apologies. But none of this would matter that much if we could even believe anything that transpires on screen. The relationship these two leads have for one another is downright laughable; Anna is pretty thick to realize this Ben of hers acts strangely around her, resisting her come-ons and appearing far too overprotective. A smarter movie would have her quip "Hey Ben, you're kinda cute...wait, you're not with the secret service, are you?"

Mandy Moore is pretty good in such a flimsy role. She is authentic in making her character in complete desperation to be free (or, at least, as long as her dad is in office). Her charm is so likable that she makes the laughable dialogue and goings-on almost acceptable. Matthew Goode, in his first American movie, shows a likable and serious side, but it isn't a good introductory movie for him. I also got a couple of chuckles out of Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra, who play these secret service agents with a bit of a wink, and their crushes on one another, despite it being a dull subplot, works more than it should because of these two.

"Chasing Liberty" is watchable at times, but I kept waiting for a better movie to get out. And I also kept hoping for a better, more serious movie starring Mandy Moore, who is so much better than this material. It would be fine with me if she rejected some big check from Warner or Universal and accepted that smaller-but-better check from Sony Pictures Classics or Focus Features.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8442&reviewer=350
originally posted: 01/16/04 01:14:39
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User Comments

11/16/06 David Pollastrini Mandy Moore looks very hot in this film. So does her butt double! 3 stars
6/20/06 Ezra resendiz I love it 5 stars
10/18/05 Valerie kind of slow... 3 stars
6/30/05 Laura Hot English guy...only reason to sit through this crap 1 stars
9/19/04 angel good subplot, forced chemistry between mandy and matthew, bad ending 2 stars
7/28/04 toonz extraordinary 5 stars
5/31/04 maggie subplot actors stronger than the plot 3 stars
5/23/04 Chase Movie you can watch 5 stars
4/22/04 cynthia anggiansah very,very romantic and fantastic and adventurous 5 stars
4/01/04 re a great film 5 stars
3/20/04 Jacquelyn Matthew Goode is really hott! 5 stars
3/13/04 francine it was great!i love mathew's acting!! he was reallly great and also mandy, i love her! 5 stars
3/09/04 Andie I saw this movie 4 times yesterday(quite embarassing to admit actually) but sweet. Hmmm?? 4 stars
3/09/04 Brandy WOW 5 stars
3/05/04 gere arigo lopez its terrific! 5 stars
2/27/04 mirage nothing 5 stars
2/17/04 Hilary i thought the movie was awsome... i saw it twice and i would love to see it again.... 5 stars
2/06/04 Tasha Awesome movie .. Mandy & matthew are perfect ! 5 stars
2/05/04 chanel wise i thought it was really good and mathew goode looked really sexy in the movie 5 stars
2/03/04 Rachel Murray Great!! I loved it. Made me smile from ear to ear. 5 stars
1/25/04 Jessy good movie , mathew goode is hot 5 stars
1/21/04 Savanna it was not really good i would have rather spent my money on something else 3 stars
1/21/04 Danielle It was ok...a little cheesy at times...I believe Mandy Moore has way more potential 3 stars
1/19/04 Lindsey hot 5 stars
1/19/04 Jessica i think its worth seeing again and Mathew is a hottie! 5 stars
1/18/04 Christina THis was a goode movie. Goode to see Matthew that is. He totally made this movie great. 5 stars
1/16/04 aubrey- ussweetcheeks@yahoo.com what is the name of the "sweet modern pop song". if you know please email me. 4 stars
1/16/04 Dildos Rule The World Utter shit...even for a date movie. 1 stars
1/16/04 caitlin i saw this movie twice, i didnt like it until after she dyed her hair, it was cool! 5 stars
1/14/04 Laura It inspired many awwws... It was cute 4 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Silly, contrived kiddie comedy; Harmon is horrendous as the president. 1 stars
1/13/04 amy a cute date movie 3 stars
1/12/04 Gray gor robbed in prauge 1 stars
1/12/04 he a great fillm 5 stars
1/11/04 candice i loved the move its worth the money 5 stars
1/11/04 Juss Me It was cute, but don't go for it if you're not a sappy love-story type =P 4 stars
1/11/04 katie i love it! 5 stars
1/11/04 Nicole It was pretty OKAY. just went by hella slow but good story. 3 stars
1/11/04 Hollywood Sucks Kinda like a train wreck; takes forever to end and when it does you're amazed how bad it is 1 stars
1/09/04 paul heslep Well, I've seen the trailer... and I've seen Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday... I wont go 2 stars
1/09/04 Chip If you ever wanted to be alone or ever are alone, this movie will touch your heart 5 stars
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  09-Jan-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-May-2004



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