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Chasing Liberty

Chasing Liberty on DVD

Romantic fluff? Indeed.

But it works.

Imagine being the teenaged daughter of the most powerful person on earth – and you just want to be a teenager living like a teenager.

This is the concept behind Chasing Liberty, a sweet romantic story that makes you empathize with the likes of the Bush twins or Chelsea Clinton or the late JFK Junior, young people growing up under a microscope.

Mandy Moore is Anna, “first daughter” and a precious teen for whom the burden of her father’s job is a yoke under which she chafes. She wants to have fun, to date, to act like an ordinary kid – but every time she turns around the Secret Service people assigned to protect her get in the way. She ends up embarrassed and miserable – and mad at the world and most especially her father for ruining her life.

On the other hand, her antics are embarrassing to her father (Mark Harmon) and threaten his credibility on the world stage. She doesn't get the Big Picture and, as most of us were at that age, is basically a selfish teenager wrapped up in her own needs and wants. So the leader of the beacon of freedom is forced to deal with his daughter’s ultimately irrelevant and selfish foibles on one hand, while balancing the overwhelming responsibilities of being US president on the other.

He has a Secret Service agent (Matthew Goode) assigned to secretly protect her while she’s accompanying him a G8 summit in Prague, allowing her to think she’s on her own without actually being on her own. Naturally, all hell breaks loose as Anna breaks free from her protectors (even the one she thinks is just another guy) and prances around the city enjoying her newly-won freedom.

And, naturally, she and Ben (Goode) begin to respect each other and, by the time the movie’s over, they’re hopelessly in love. And naturally, again, when his true identity is revealed she’s crestfallen and angry and that’s the end of the romance. Or is it?

There’s also a nice subplot involving two other agents (Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra) assigned to watch Anna and Ben from the background and the romance that blossoms between them as well.

We were thrilled to find that the filmmakers avoided any kind of politics with this movie. We expected to be beaten over the head with the usual liberal dogma but here the politics of the president are never even hinted at – instead, they deal with the story itself and that’s the way it should be unless you're making a political movie and not a romantic comedy.

There’s nothing new here, though, nothing really groundbreaking. It’s kind of reminiscent of Roman Holiday, though not as good, but in the end it works and is quite an enjoyable piece of fluff.

We’d never really heard of Mandy Moore before (we understand she’s some kind of Britney Spears contemporary), and we were really impressed with her here. She plays the part very well and manages to be sweet and frustrating at the same time in a performance that’s quite believable. Goode is as his name would suggest and the two have goode chemistry together. Harmon’s fine, though he doesn’t have a lot to do, and the other agents are quite intriguing.

The DVD is available in two incarnations: anamorphic widescreen and Pan&Scan and they’re sold separately. We reviewed the widescreen version, fortunately, and thought the picture quality was very good. Colors are nice and rich and the image is sharp and clean.

Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and it’s also very good, with nice use of the surround channels at times.

You get quite a reasonable selection of extras as well. First up is a running commentary by stars Moore and Goode, and there are also some deleted scenes, a gag reel and a “Passport to Europe” tour with the stars reminiscing about the experience and offering travel tips.

There’s also the “entire concert performance of the Seed” by The Roots (this is a concert scene during the movie), and the trailer.

Chasing Liberty, from Warner Home Video
101 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible)/Pan&Scan (Sold Separately), Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
Starring Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Jeremy Piven, Annabella Sciorra, Mark Harmon
Produced by David Parfitt, Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove
Written by Derek Guley and David Schneiderman, directed by Andy Cadiff


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