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Chasing Liberty  (2004)

 

Starring: Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Mark Harmon

Director: Andy Cadiff

Rating: PG-13

Distributor: Warner Home Video

Release Date: May 4, 2004
Review posted: April 22, 2004

Spoilers: None

 

Reviewed by Jon Bjorling

 

SYNOPSIS

 

Anna Foster (Moore) just wants to be herself. However, being the President's daughter, this is a tad difficult when Secret Service agents are always around and ready to pounce at the first sign of trouble. When she discovers that her father has betrayed her trust by not limiting the number of agents to watch over her when she goes to a club, she ditches the agents and goes on the run with Ben (Goode), a photographer with a secret.

 

CRITIQUE

 

Chasing Liberty is a great film to watch on a date. It has all the qualities of a great date movie: attractive leads; intimate, date-like situations; and a happy ending. It's not ground breaking, mind you, and no one is going to leave the film feeling enlightened, but it is a nice, sweet film.

 

The film's biggest flaw is that, while it is sold as a romantic comedy, it's not really that funny. There are attempts at humor, but they never rise beyond a chuckle or two. The film works nice as a romantic drama. I guess I would say drama, although the film is never overly dramatic. The film, in some ways, exists to cash in on Mandy Moore's appeal to teenage audiences and it does a good job. It's also never mean spirited or obnoxious; it's nothing more than a pleasant bit of fluff.

 

So how is Mandy Moore? I never saw A Walk to Remember or How to Deal so I can't judge her previous performances to this one, but I have this thing with musicians and acting. For the most part, I feel that they should stick to music and leave acting to professionals. However, Mandy Moore doesn't fall into this category. Her performance in Chasing Liberty, while not the greatest performance I've ever seen, is not bad. She is pleasant to watch and is able to hold a scene, something most musicians cannot do.

 

Matthew Goode is fun in his first starring role, however, I found myself wondering why Anna would put up with him during a few moments in the film. His performance is okay, but, the moment we learn his character's secret, we (the audience) should start wondering why Anna can't see through his act.

 

But, like I said, this is a date movie. Throwing too much thought into a film like this would make you a killjoy. All that matters is watching to see if the boy and girl end up together at the end. As long as they do or don't (and there had better be a damn good reason as to why they don't) that's all we need to know.

 

THE VIDEO

 

The transfer is standard. The colors never seem muted, nor do they seem particularly enhanced. The transfer looks nice, and that's all.

 

THE AUDIO

 

The film is presented in Dolby Surround 5.1, in both English and French, and is nothing to speak of. Almost nothing in the film requires surround sound, and the ambient location sound does not give us the impression of being there.

 

THE EXTRAS

 

Mandy Moore & Matthew Goode Commentary: The two spend most of the film talking about how good each other looks in a scene and drop little recounts of how they felt during particular scenes. Not really worth listening to if you're looking for real information about the film.

 

Deleted Scenes: The deleted scenes are production dailies.  The scenes are lumped together on a single track and were cut for good reason.

 

Gag Reel: This reel is full of alternate takes from most of the scenes featuring actor Jeremy Piven.

 

Passport to Europe: Don't bother with this one. It's a mix between a travelogue, a series of conversations, and a "making of" but it never comes together to interest in any way.

 

Rounding out the extras is the entire concert performance of "The Seed" by The Roots as seen in the film, as well as the film's trailer.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

It's date fluff. Rent it and watch it with your loved one.

 

VERDICT: RENT IT

 

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:: The Disc

 

:: Disc Ratings

 

THE MOVIE

7

THE VIDEO

5

THE AUDIO

6

THE EXTRAS

5

OVERALL

7

 

:: Merchandise