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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.91%
Worth A Look: 9.09%
Pretty Bad: 20.45%
Total Crap: 25%

3 reviews, 26 user ratings

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First Daughter
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by EricDSnider

"If only it had been about the Bush twins."
3 stars

"First Daughter" is a good movie for people who wanted to see "Chasing Liberty" but can't stand Hillary Duff or Mandy Moore, whichever one was in that movie. (They are interchangeable to me.) The movies are really the same film, with the same plot and the same twists, but "First Daughter" is maybe a little better.

They were both originally scheduled to be released the same week in January, two days apart. But "First Daughter" lost that game of chicken and moved to September, a move that will forever brand it unfairly as the copycat, the imitator. I'm not saying "First Daughter" deserves great things, but it does deserve a better fate than being dismissed as a Mandy Moore/Hillary Duff rip-off, for heaven's sake.

Anyway, it's about Samantha Mackenzie (Katie Holmes), daughter of the U.S. president (Michael Keaton), who in this alternate-reality version of 2004 is running for re-election without being weighed down by things like Iraq or being kinda dumb. The biggest bone his opponents can pick with him is his lack of education spending, which means it must be a pretty dull election.

As the film opens, Sam is about to head to California's Redmond University for her freshman year. She will travel on Air Force One, of course, and be accompanied by a phalanx of Secret Service agents and curious news reporters. She would rather pack her stuff into a VW bug and make the drive cross-country herself, but such an ordinary life is not possible for her. Her father, good soul that he is, wrestles constantly with his love for his daughter and his desire to keep her safe, along with the harsh fact that there are people who would like to kill the daughter of a president.

Still, Sam constantly seeks freedom and normalcy. Her college roommate, Mia (Amerie Rogers), a PG version of a trashy party girl, does what she can to help, but mostly she just gets jealous because she's accustomed to being the center of attention wherever she goes and now she's always being upstaged by American royalty. Sam meets a cute boy named James (Marc Blucas), but for some reason he is hesitant to embark on a relationship with her, even though he clearly likes her. He keeps saying, "We need to talk," but then instead of speaking up, he lets himself get interrupted by even the mildest distractions, the way people do in movies but never in real life.

Sam and James sneak away from her two Secret Service agents on a regular basis, and Sam's hijinks are often photographed by paparazzi, thus potentially harming her father's campaign. Can't an 18-year-old girl just cut loose and live a little?

Not if she's the president's daughter she can't. That's one of the movie's surprisingly mature and grown-up ideas, the truism that you sometimes have to accept life's limitations and sacrifice some of the things you want. The movie certainly is not a downer -- it has an effortless charm that is often very engaging -- but it's not a blissfully ignorant fairy-tale, either, the way a certain other movie about a president's daughter was. Sam's actions actually have consequences, which Duff's or Moore's didn't. (Or maybe it was Amanda Bynes.)

Katie Holmes is adorable and savvy, like a good first daughter, and her interaction with her Secret Service agents (played by Michael Milhoan and Dwayne Adway) is cute and relatively believable. In fact, much of the film, directed by Forest Whitaker and written by girl-power scribes Jessica Bendinger ("Bring It On") and Kate Kondell ("Legally Blonde 2"), falls under the category of "unlikely, but not impossible." It's not a brilliant film, and much of it is predictable -- yet it has a few laughs, and its target audience will enjoy it. What about adults? Well, they won't find it altogether unpleasant.

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originally posted: 09/04/05 17:53:36
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User Comments

8/05/13 Laura Cameron This needs a sequel 5 stars
7/09/10 christine mclaren enjoyed the film.good family entertainment ! would love to see a sequel. 5 stars
6/25/07 charlotte People don't realize that political families are normal too! It is hard to balance that! 1 stars
6/21/06 Brenda I absolutly loved the movie and am hoping there will be a sequel because it was a cliffhang 5 stars
10/31/05 Jan I'm all grown up and I liked it. Great for mom renting a movie for girls night "in." 4 stars
7/30/05 Meri nice girl movie, cute clothes and guys, doesn't require much of a brain activity 3 stars
5/22/05 Tam K. I think the movie was cute, romantic, and funny. There should be a seqel 5 stars
3/05/05 kimerie jones this movie was not really funny but I enjoyed it because it was romantic. 3 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung katie was good but story line was so simple 2 stars
2/07/05 craig varney don't have to worry about a sequel 1 stars
2/05/05 Susan Chamberlain It was OK. I expected a little more. 3 stars
2/05/05 COlleen GOldrick cute for kids 3 stars
2/05/05 Melissa loved Katie Holmes, story line could've been better 4 stars
1/29/05 tatum One of the blandest films ever made 3 stars
12/12/04 kouZo crakked my nuts....not for cinema better shown on tv 3 stars
11/21/04 Hilary Adamson Only fluff would cast K Holmes as 1st daughtr; only farce would cast M Keaton as President. 2 stars
11/21/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Can't choose between being biting or sappy. Ends up just bappy. 3 stars
10/27/04 Lizzie I loved the movie. Katie Holmes palyed the character well. 5 stars
10/19/04 KIM i loved it very cute 5 stars
10/08/04 Amanda E what is that song they play in the movie and the trailer..the bah-dah dah..kindof 4 stars
10/05/04 Brenda Loved it 4 stars
9/26/04 Kris no words 1 stars
9/24/04 ender I was forced to watch Chasing Liberty once, but I certainly don't want to watch it again. 1 stars
9/20/04 Ray Big deal 2 stars
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  24-Sep-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 25-Jan-2005



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