ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  andy cadiff

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  romantic comedy

LENGTH  -  111 minutes

RELEASED  -  9 january 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  chasing liberty

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $23,000,000
chasing liberty - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from chasing liberty at

buy the dvd from chasing liberty at

the daughter of the president of the united states feels suffocated by her life and runs away, only to hook up with an undercover CIA agent.

this film was once scheduled for release on the same day as first daughter, another story about the daughter of a u.s. president.


picture from chasing liberty

picture from chasing liberty

picture from chasing liberty

picture from chasing liberty


two out of four possible stars

Mandy Moore has displayed various degrees of talent in front of the camera and behind the microphone, but since her leading-role début in 2001's A Walk To Remember, none of her successive performances have been able to capture the magic that film was filled to the brim with. 2002's How To Deal was greeted by press and fans without much enthusiasm, and Chasing Liberty probably won't find much more support. Although Mandy Moore can easily be described as an adorable and likeable teen presence on screen (sure to capture the hearts of young teens everywhere), one can't help but notice that this most recent film is but a rehashing of every film she's starred in thus far. The Teen Romance Tissue Flick.

And while these films can be just as rewarding for the viewer as any older-skewing drama, there still needs to be an element of freshness and spontaneity for these films to catch a wide fan-base. Chasing Liberty will have no problems finding willing viewers who were previous fans of Moore, but it will be hard for the star to rake in new eyeballs that would find the film interesting. Unfortunately, as a romantic comedy, the film has some entertaining moments, but there are far too many places where the emotion and drama is all but flat between lead actress Moore and her on-screen love interest, "Ben," played by Brit Matthew Goode.

The same, tired and utterly cliché dialogue is passed back and forth between them and it's easy to cringe when one of them says something to the effect of, "my life was just fine and then along came you!" If ever there was a piece of dialogue or sentence that had worn out its welcome in far too many romantic comedies, that phrase would take the prize. It's such an over-used phrase in current films that seeing it performed seriously on-screen by an actor unfortunate to have come into contact with it is nothing less than hilarious.

An additional element which might have audience members truly scratching their heads is a scene that occurs about two-thirds of the way through the film. Moore and Goode's characters have just passed the border from Italy into Austria and there's actually a goat eating hay on the side of the ancient stone bridge the two must cross to make it into Austria. This scene is eerily reminiscent of the foreign exchange students in the film PCU, where the Dutch student is wearing a blue milking dress and a pair of clogs. Are American audiences supposed to believe that Austrians place goats on bridges with a spot of hay to chew on in the middle of nowhere? Are Austrians still somehow living in the 19th century? Perhaps audience members can write off that bit of hilarity as a moment of insanity by the set decorators.

As in all her films, the pop-tune filled musical score is bursting with standard tracks designed to sell well in soundtrack form, though interestingly for this film, songs from such rockers as Tom Petty and Chris Isaak appear. So it's a mystery as to why a compact disc soundtrack wasn't produced for the film, as the songs compiled for the film might have had some crossover appeal into more mature listeners. Older viewers might also appreciate the scenery in the film (excepting the goat) as most of the movie takes place in various scenic locales in Europe including Venice, Italy, various spots around the Austrian countryside, Prague, Czech Republic, and Berlin, Germany.

Moore and Goode are only sufficient in their jobs as playing a pair romantically inclined teenagers, though the romantic comedy that exists between Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra (they play a pair of Secret Service agents charged with protecting the First Daughter) actually outshines the lead story at times. Perhaps it is due to Piven and Sciorra's longer careers, but the film spends so much time with their growing love story (even though it is but a sub-plot), their interaction seems to become as important as the lead story. Piven and Sciorra can't be faulted on their stealing of the spotlight, though the editor probably could have taken a small amount of time from the film out of their story so as to cut the running time down.

Because the film really does feel too long, overall. Though the scenery is beautiful and the people usually are as well, one can't help feel that several scenes in the film could have been edited somewhat more succinctly. Though perhaps it is the lack of true chemistry between the lead stars that makes their scenes feel longer. The casting of Matthew Goode and Mandy Moore in the lead roles seems much more of an attempt to bring two beautiful people together rather than find a pair of actors whose love story would be engrossing and entirely believable. The drippy, sweet sappiness of the ending might have something to do with the pair's unbelievably though. The film definitely crosses the boundary of "cute" into "sappy" more than once. Though it will play well for young, teenaged girls, Chasing Liberty is not Mandy Moore's best and does not represent a tenth of what the actress is capable.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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