Forest Whitaker's FIRST DAUGHTER, a poor little rich girl story about the
President's college-age daughter, is an exceedingly lame teen comedy bereft of
genuine moments. The plastic characters are so unbelievable and saccharine
that an urge came over me while watching it. I was desperate to escape for a
breath of real, fresh air.
Katie Holmes, as the eponymous star of the film, may be cute, but her movie
never is. The overwhelmingly oppressive and sugary music kept telling me what
a swell time I was having, even as I felt like I was about to gag.
From the first moment, the film acts like it is a whimsical fairy tale that was
supposed to star Hilary Duff. Well, Holmes is no Duff, which isn't necessarily
a bad thing. But this movie never finds a tone that works. Michael Keaton and
Margaret Colin play Samantha "Sam" Mackenzie's parents, also know as the leader
of the free world and his wife or the President and the First Lady.
The story gets in gear with just plain Sam arriving in a long black limo parade
at her first day in college, 3,000 miles away from home. The brass band greets
her and her family with "Hail To The Chief." No sooner has she arrived that
her new roommate, Mia (Amerie Rogers in a pathetic performance),
unrealistically insults her and then just as unbelievably turns into an instant
bosom buddy. Her large Secret Service detail is at first overwhelming and then
later is usually completely AWOL. Or is it?
The only good thing about FIRST DAUGHTER is that it makes you want to
reevaluate the bland CHASING LIBERTY, the Mandy Moore movie about the
president's daughter, which was originally scheduled to open opposite FIRST
DAUGHTER until FIRST DAUGHTER blinked and moved its release forward by almost
nine months. After seeing FIRST DAUGHTER, CHASING LIBERTY looks really good
now in comparison.
FIRST DAUGHTER runs a painfully long 1:44. It is rated PG for "language,
sexual situations and alcohol-related material" and would be acceptable for
kids around 7 and up.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes