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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 5.63%
Average: 26.76%
Pretty Bad: 28.17%
Total Crap: 7.04%

5 reviews, 41 user ratings

Chasing Liberty
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by Collin Souter

"Rom-Com # 1: High Profile Girl Falls For Secretly Paid Hired Hand"
2 stars

“Chasing Liberty” is one of this season’s Pleasant Romantic Comedy Guaranteed Not To Offend, Arouse or Provoke Thought. January is often filled with PRCGNTOAoPTs. History has proven the seasonal box office success of this sub-genre with the likes of “Down To You” and “Someone Like You,” two movies that perfectly fit the PRCGNTOAoPT mold. “Chasing Liberty,” like this season’s “Along Came Polly,” “Win A Date With Tad Hamilton,” “The Prince and Me” and countless others, strives for nothing more than to be likable, and it can be in spurts, but most of the time, you’re left sitting there thinking: “I’ve seen this before. Where in God’s name have I seen this before?!? Did I just rent this movie?”

Like many PRCGNTOAoPTs, “Chasing Liberty” stars two good-looking leads—in this case Mandy Moore and an unknown, Matthew Goode--neither of whom have had any pull at the box office (and by the looks of it, won’t with this movie), but seem to be appealing enough to cater to the teeny boppers who will attend. Both actors do fine and will likely attract couples who have little to no discriminating tastes, couples who just want a Pleasant night out at the movies where they won’t be jerked around too much by anything unfamiliar, couples who rent the Chris O’Donnell movie “The Bachelor” and don’t mind paying the late fees.

And like many PRCGNTOAoPTs, the story concerns these two at seemingly opposite ends from each other. “Chasing Liberty” fits the PRCGNTOAoPT mold of High Profile Girl Unknowingly Falls For Secretly Paid Hired Hand. And like many HPGUFFSPHHs, the girl, Anna Foster, a.k.a. Liberty (Moore), starts off on a first date that is about to go sour. Anna is the daughter of the President of the United States, James Foster (Mark Harmon). Since Anna is a teenager on the verge of adulthood, President Foster has the Secret Service follow her around on every one of her dates.

Along Comes a family trip to Prague, where Anna meets up with an old friend of hers. Dying to be released from the watchful eye of her father as well as the ever-present Secret Service, Anna gets a complete makeover and runs off to hit the clubs with her buddy. Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Foster (Caroline Gooddall) gives President James a lecture on letting his daughter have more freedom. He decides to give Anna the illusion of freedom while continuing the plant Secret Service Agents to follow her around constantly.

Eager to ditch two agents (a developing romance between Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorria), Anna hitches a ride with Ben Calder (Matthew Goode), a dashing young gentleman with a secret (I promise not to tell). The movie becomes a Euro-travelogue with many colorful characters showing up for support as Anna and Ben fall for one another, even though she doesn’t know that he has really been working as an agent hired to watching over her (doh!). At some point, the truth must come out.

So, fine. Nothing wrong with that, except that I didn’t hear that much laughter coming from the average American Teenage Citizen audience with whom I sat. Apparently, most of the best moments in “Chasing Liberty” can be seen in the trailer and the kiddies had apparently seen the trailer hundreds of times already. Aside from some beautiful cinematography by Ashley Rowe and the fact that a star might be born in Matthew Goode, the movie just plays like a Sara Michelle Gellar rom-com greatest hits package.

Movies like this can be frustrating in that one wishes they would either be better or worse. “Just please arouse something in me! Make me sit up and take notice! Make me angry! Just do something!” One likes to come out of a movie remembering something substantial once they bust open the exit doors and throw away their pretzel poppers. That doesn’t happen here. More likely, you’ll walk out staring at the marquees above every other theater door wondering if maybe you should have made a wiser choice. But even that part of the experience won’t stay with you because you’ll soon be back in the freezing cold trying to remember where you parked your car. At that point, “Chasing Liberty” will feel like a distant dream.

Unless one of these non-dreamlike PRCGNTOAoPTs stars Freddie Prinze Jr., they usually go down easily. I guess I just prefer rom-coms to stick out like a strap-on in a church funeral. “Chasing Liberty” will crowd-please for the duration of its pleasantly punctual 90-105 minute running time, and that’s all fine and good. One just wishes that the writers in Hollywood would figure out a way to create an original love story instead of just recycling old bits from Sandra Bullock movies. But as I said before, it’s January and history has proven the success of this sub-genre at this time of year. The biggest challenge we will get out of this film is how to pronounce HPGUFFSPHH.

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originally posted: 01/23/04 10:43:21
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User Comments

11/16/06 David Pollastrini Mandy Moore looks very hot in this film. So does her butt double! 3 stars
6/21/06 Ezra resendiz I love it 5 stars
10/19/05 Valerie kind of slow... 3 stars
7/01/05 Laura Hot English guy...only reason to sit through this crap 1 stars
9/20/04 angel good subplot, forced chemistry between mandy and matthew, bad ending 2 stars
7/29/04 toonz extraordinary 5 stars
6/01/04 maggie subplot actors stronger than the plot 3 stars
5/24/04 Chase Movie you can watch 5 stars
4/23/04 cynthia anggiansah very,very romantic and fantastic and adventurous 5 stars
4/02/04 re a great film 5 stars
3/21/04 Jacquelyn Matthew Goode is really hott! 5 stars
3/14/04 francine it was great!i love mathew's acting!! he was reallly great and also mandy, i love her! 5 stars
3/09/04 Andie I saw this movie 4 times yesterday(quite embarassing to admit actually) but sweet. Hmmm?? 4 stars
3/09/04 Brandy WOW 5 stars
3/06/04 gere arigo lopez its terrific! 5 stars
2/28/04 mirage nothing 5 stars
2/17/04 Hilary i thought the movie was awsome... i saw it twice and i would love to see it again.... 5 stars
2/07/04 Tasha Awesome movie .. Mandy & matthew are perfect ! 5 stars
2/06/04 chanel wise i thought it was really good and mathew goode looked really sexy in the movie 5 stars
2/04/04 Rachel Murray Great!! I loved it. Made me smile from ear to ear. 5 stars
1/25/04 Jessy good movie , mathew goode is hot 5 stars
1/22/04 Savanna it was not really good i would have rather spent my money on something else 3 stars
1/22/04 Danielle It was ok...a little cheesy at times...I believe Mandy Moore has way more potential 3 stars
1/20/04 Lindsey hot 5 stars
1/20/04 Jessica i think its worth seeing again and Mathew is a hottie! 5 stars
1/19/04 Christina THis was a goode movie. Goode to see Matthew that is. He totally made this movie great. 5 stars
1/17/04 aubrey- what is the name of the "sweet modern pop song". if you know please email me. 4 stars
1/17/04 Dildos Rule The World Utter shit...even for a date movie. 1 stars
1/16/04 caitlin i saw this movie twice, i didnt like it until after she dyed her hair, it was cool! 5 stars
1/15/04 Laura It inspired many awwws... It was cute 4 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Silly, contrived kiddie comedy; Harmon is horrendous as the president. 1 stars
1/13/04 amy a cute date movie 3 stars
1/13/04 Gray gor robbed in prauge 1 stars
1/13/04 he a great fillm 5 stars
1/12/04 candice i loved the move its worth the money 5 stars
1/12/04 Juss Me It was cute, but don't go for it if you're not a sappy love-story type =P 4 stars
1/12/04 katie i love it! 5 stars
1/12/04 Nicole It was pretty OKAY. just went by hella slow but good story. 3 stars
1/12/04 Hollywood Sucks Kinda like a train wreck; takes forever to end and when it does you're amazed how bad it is 1 stars
1/10/04 paul heslep Well, I've seen the trailer... and I've seen Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday... I wont go 2 stars
1/10/04 Chip If you ever wanted to be alone or ever are alone, this movie will touch your heart 5 stars
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  09-Jan-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-May-2004



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