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CHASING LIBERTY (2004) (PG-13)

Warner Bros.

Official Site

Director: Andy Cadiff

Producers: David Parfitt, Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove

Writers: Derek Guiley, David Schneiderman

Cast: Mandy Moore, Mark Harmon, Jeremy Piven, Annabella Sciorra, Matthew Goode, Caroline Goodall,

Rating: out of 5

Poor Anna Foster (Moore)! Being the President’s daughter just isn’t as glamorous as it looks. Her dad (Harmon) won’t let her have any fun and the Secret Service keeps following her around, ruining her big date and leading her to pine and pout about freedom. The last straw is when her dad breaks his word about letting her go to see The Roots concert in Prague without the entourage. So naturally the rambunctious Anna takes it on herself to teach her dad a lesson and go find some freedom, with a reluctant yet studly British guy, Ben, she just happens to bump into. All of this of course brings to mind one question: Why the hell are The Roots in a movie with Mandy Moore?

Yeah so Anna and her boy Ben, who’s really a CIA agent put on a rather unlikely mission, traipse around Europe trying to get to Germany’s famed Love Parade, which is really like a paler Carnival with more techno and less percussion. Along the way Anna gushes about how great it is just to be free, as they run into some obnoxiously colorful locals like a dippy British punk and a fat Italian gondolier (because who else are you going to meet in Venice?) and his fat Italian mama, and dodge some obnoxiously flirty Secret Service agents. The musical accompaniment to this is predictably light and poppy, though I’m happy to report that at no time does Mandy ever find chance to sing.

As you can imagine this all pretty slight. It’s ridiculously contrived and unfailingly predictable. It’s nothing more than Mandy Moore’s European travelogue, but alas, it really isn’t nearly as bad as I had hoped. You see as a fan of Ms. Moore’s first feature, the achingly sincere adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ doomed teen romance, A Walk To Remember, I was hoping for another saccharine slab of nostalgic melodrama. Trust me, you don’t need to know geometry to appreciate how perfectly square A Walk To Remember is. But Chasing Liberty is just depressingly generic and lazy. The dialogue has sitcom-like pop and zingers, and there’s even some relatively risqué material in here like Anna’s coy yet carnal come-ons, and, for heaven’s sake, even a joke about why guys like girls with tongue piercings. The humorist Joe Queenan actually came up with a term for this feeling—scheissenbedauern—literally “shit regret.” This nicely explains how one can feel disappointed that something one thought might be delectably awful just turns out to be run-of-the-mill bad. And that’s what Chasing Liberty is, just a garden variety bad teen movie.

—Edward Rholes

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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