Chasing Liberty

on January 09, 2004 by Paul Clinton
Anna Foster (Mandy Moore) is a frustrated First Daughter. Her President dad (Mark Harmon, in a moral mode) continually thwarts her attempts to go on dates with boys. He's always sending guards to monitor her movements. Instead of giving up, Anna skips out during a trip to Europe to stir up some fun.

With a coy smile, Anna hops on a scooter driven by Ben Calder (Mathew Goode), unaware that he's an undercover Secret Service operative assigned to protect her. Agents Weiss (Jeremy Piven) and Morales (Annabella Sciorra) also track Anna when not exchanging sexually-charged wisecracks.

Using a comic idea that could have been more fun in the hands of a defter comedienne than Moore, the filmmakers make it clear that Anna is a handful. She scampers up a Parisian roof, strips off her clothes to wade in the Danube and even ditches Calder on a remote Italian road.

"Chasing Liberty" strings together enough cute, teen-girl moments to provide a few grins--dopey grins, if you're not a 14-year-old girl. But first-time writers David Schneiderman and Derek Guiley seem to think putting whiny dialogue in Moore's pouty mouth makes for breezy "Roman Holiday"-style fun. It doesn't. To make matters worse, Moore's personality void keeps sucking air out of the picture. Her close-ups have a deadly, vacuous quality. Director Andy Cadiff, whose last assignment was the "Leave It to Beaver" movie, keeps things moving well enough but opts for at-times dreary, naturalistic lighting. Starring Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra. Directed by Andy Cadiff. Written by David Schneiderman and Derek Guiley. Produced by David Parfitt, Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove. A Warner Bros. release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief nudity. Running time: 110 min

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