CHASING LIBERTY, a montage of Mandy Moore moments, has the flavor of a big
slice of white bread. With few believable parts, the story is about Anna
Foster, a spoiled First Daughter who plays tricks on the men and women who are
willing to risk their lives in order to protect hers. While in Europe, she
sneaks away even though terrorists would like nothing better than to snatch
such a high profile prize. Nothing even remotely believable happens in this
story about privileges having its problems. About the worst thing that Anna
has to deal with is that she has trouble enjoying her dates as the Secret
Service normally make her outings look like parades with a long caravan of
Since CHASING LIBERTY is a comedy, we can and should give the narrative more
latitude, assuming, of course, that it's funny, which CHASING LIBERTY is
mildly, if only in a very low-key sort of way. There is, for example, the time
that the President (Mark Harmon) says to the First Lady (Caroline Goodall),
"Remind me to commission a government study to find out why anyone would pierce
their tongue." Now that I think about it, I didn't really find that funny.
Well how about the time Anna and her new love interest, Ben Calder (Matthew
Goode), a Secret Service agent with an English accent so thick and scholarly
that he sounds like he must recite Shakespeare in his sleep, escape from the
other agents by taking his motorbike down an alley too small for a car? (She
doesn't come to realize that he is an agent of the government until six or
seven countries later.) Actually, I've seen that scene a thousand times
before, and it wasn't funny this time.
Well then, how about the scene in which, if you remember to bring your
high-powered binoculars to the theater, you can just barely make out Moore
skinny-dipping in the distance on a dark night? Hmm, that wasn't humorous or
erotic, but it was enough to needlessly boost a PG film into the PG-13
category. So long as you don't allow your kids to bring a telescope or other
such devices with them, you can consider the movie to be PG.
Well, now that I think about it more, there wasn't anything I liked about
CHASING LIBERTY, with the exception of the final and inevitable big kiss, which
occurs with a Puccini opera in the background. This scene soars, but it is the
"It was bad before, but now it's pretty much beyond bad," Alan Weiss (Jeremy
Piven) says to fellow agent and girlfriend Cynthia Morales (Annabella Sciorra)
in the story's last act. "It's as bad as it gets." The movie is far from as
bad as it gets, but Moore's lifeless performance adds nothing to the
production. As lame as the script is, a single casting change could have saved
it. With LIZZIE MCGUIRE's Hilary Duff as the star, it might have been cute.
CHASING LIBERTY runs 1:51. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content and brief
nudity" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes