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Chasing Liberty
2004 - PG-13 - 111 Mins.
Director: Andy Cadiff
Producer: Kira Davis, Cathy Lord, David Parfitt, Wayne Allan Rice
Written By: Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman
Starring: Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Jeremy Piven, Stark Sands, Sam Ellis
Review by: Joe Rickey
The president’s spiteful and otherwise rebellious daughter is vacationing in Prague as a way of getting away from all of the restrictions of life in Washington. It is there that she falls in love with a man she doesn’t know is actually a secret service agent assigned to keep track of her in Chasing Liberty, a wholly inconsequential romantic film starring Mandy Moore (How to Deal, A Walk to Remember).

Director Andy Cadiff, making his directorial debut, and writers Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman have created a romantic film that has elements of comedy present but it never becomes quite humorous enough and comedy-oriented for one to really truly consider it to be a romantic comedy in the vein of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or any such similar film. In this way it is like Moore’s last film, How to Deal, a film that too contained some attempts at humor but still was more of a dramatic effort than a comedic one. Chasing Liberty is unlike How to Deal in the fact that it never attempts to deal with weighty issues; whereas Deal dealt with teenage pregnancy, Chasing Liberty is much more concerned with whether Moore’s character will fall completely in love with her suitor and remain in love when she eventually discovers his true intentions.

Chasing Liberty, when it works, is all on the shoulders of Moore. She ably maintains the integrity and once again illustrates the ample screen presence she has developed in her relatively short acting career. She is a very intriguing performer who never has a false moment. She keeps the attention of the viewer with seemingly little effort and shows more real emotion than some actors who have twice her experience in film. She is a completely compelling performer that has the talent to make any project she does at least watchable. It is her effervescent performance that keeps this film from faltering too much from its negative elements.

Chief among the aforementioned negative elements is the less than effective pacing. The film lingers too much in the beginning as it agonizingly sets up the premise and also drags some during the middle portion of its running time. Director Cadiff also fails to develop his own style of filmmaking as the film lacks a distinct visual style or really anything else that would make it visually appealing other than his fascination with close-ups of star Moore’s face. The film also falters in that it doesn’t contain anything that would be considered surprising. The plot develops in such a quintessential manner that you would swear that the writers had a “How to Write a Romantic Film” guidebook in front of them as they composed the screenplay. The film further cements its status as a formula motion picture with what has to be the most forgettable soundtrack this side of most any formula romantic film released in the last decade.

Overall, Chasing Liberty is an admittedly formula film that I give a slight recommendation to, if only to behold the rising talent that is Mandy Moore.

Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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