January 9, 2004

Chasing cheap thrills

Mandy Moore tries to charm, really.

By Daniel Jose Bort

Welcome to the month of January! Where all your teenybopper sensation film hits feel like run-on-the-mill reheated fricassees. No exception here with Mandy Moore latest creation, Chasing Liberty, a movie that aims so high in the paper that sacrifices its candid set up and its good intentions.

Moore is arguably the least painful of the pop stars wanting a film career to watch, with a down-to-earth demeanor and a sincerity many of the same ilks would wish to claim in their interpretations. But that doesn’t mean that the actress digs deep, especially when the material wouldn’t allow her to go beyond the whim ad whines of a spoiled brat.

She is Anna Foster, daughter of the president of the United States James Foster. Already towards his second term (plus eight year as a governor), Anna hasn’t really met another life that the privileged one she now lives, full of secret agents guarding every one of her moves. She cuts a deal with his dad, one relatively free night in the middle of Europe just before entering Harvard. Only two agents will be escorting her, and she can do whatever she wants.

The night of the outing, Anna discovers one more time that his dad has deceived her (he has the whole place covered), and decides to teach him a lesson, running away. The object of her affection is a lanky, sturdy, young gentleman with an appropriate scooter in hand. No more questions asked, Anna orders and this strange fellow (with a little secret in hand) sheepishly concedes each one of her whims.

Anna has a goal; she wants to reach the love parade in Berlin before it’s over. Here the road film dynamics around strangers take place, this time all across Europe. What follows is a lame attempt to pair opposites without consensus or development, hitting the same false note all the time. The same matters for the other couple in the trip, secret agents Alan Weiss and Cynthia Morales (Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra) in charge of Anna’s security, who discover their true love around the paradisiacal passages of old Europe. These two serve the plot as comic relief the same way does a cat with his tail bent meowing uncontrollably.

I sincerely doubt even 12 years old girls would appreciate the trip around the beautiful set ups and the locals in Venice and Austria when there’s not much to tell about the inner trip inside these pair of bored out their minds lovers.

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