"So Stephanie's at a wrestling event," said Amber, my 16-year-old sister, "and you're watching 'Chasing Liberty.' What's wrong with this picture?"
It's a good question, and it's one I'm scared to answer. Stephanie's coworkers had an extra (and FREE) ticket to WWE's Raw and asked if she wanted to go. Much to my chagrin (because I faced the very scary prospect of watching the screening of "Chasing Liberty" by myself) she wanted to go. So I said, "Have a good time!" and proceeded to beg my sister to go to the movie screening. Thankfully, she did. However, that doesn't change the fact that I've now seen more Romantic Comedies within the last year than I have in my previous 27 years combined. I am not turning into a girl, I am NOT turning into a girl, I AM NOT TURNING INTO A GIRL!
And you know, I'd love to be all macho and talk about how horrible this movie is all while flexing my biceps and muscle-bouncing my pecs, but I have to admit that the movie *swallows manly pride* isn't awful. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a great movie in any way, but I happen to think that Mandy Moore has a likable screen presence. Plus, I think she's cute and therefore that helped me sit through this. Because, you know, I'm a guy and um, macho guys can watch a girly movie as long as a cute girl is in it! Yeah!
My main problem with the movie is the lame dialogue. "Do you think they'll shoot me if I kiss you?" "No, but I will if you don't." Yeah, how about you just shoot *me* and sort it out later. It's also annoying how Mandy Moore drops little pump-fisting tidbits of you-can-do-it "wisdom" throughout the movie. "The things that you're scared of are usually the most worthwhile." And I heard that a stitch in time saves nine.
Not surprisingly, this is a pretty predictable movie. Mandy Moore rebels. Matthew Goode helps her escape. It turns out that Matthew is working for the secret service. He doesn't tell Mandy. They fall in love. Cheesy pop songs fill the air. Mandy finds out Matthew lied and storms off. And well, do I really need to tell you how it ends? No, I didn't think so.
Speaking of the cheesy pop songs, man, things started off so well with Mandy dancing around to Tom Petty's "American Girl." But aside from a Chris Isaak song later in the movie, the rest were pure Velveeta. It's a standard formula for these types of movies: "Uh-oh, we've had 10 minutes of lame dialogue, we need 20 seconds of a sappy love song. STAT!"
If Mandy Moore hadn't been in this movie, then there really wouldn't have been anything to hold my interest. That's not to say the rest of the cast is bad, they just don't do a lot for me. Matthew Goode is all right I suppose. I'll admit that he's better than your typical teenage movie pretty boy, but what's up with his perpetual expression of confusion? He just walked around most the time with a vacant stare and would often look off to the side as if he was trying to find a way to escape his surroundings. I found myself doing the same thing a couple of times, but Mandy Moore would suck me right back into the movie. Oh, and note to the producers: escaping from the secret service on a moped doesn't help anybody's tough guy image.
Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra are quarreling Secret Service Agents who do the best they can with the cheesy material they're given, and Mark Harmon fails to turn the cinematic world on its ear with his Presidential portrayal. He wasn't bad, but you could've put just about anybody in the role and gotten the same effect.
The movie runs a little too long. I think 90 minutes would suffice. This thing is almost 2 hours long, and there's just really no need.
This is a Romantic Comedy that contains a predictable romance plot and is only occasionally funny. It's worth a matinee price at best, and I'd really recommend saving it for a rental. Better yet, just catch it when it eventually airs on TV.
If you're a teenage girl, a Mandy Moore fan, or someone who loves cute romantic comedies no matter how cheesy or predictable they are, then you'll probably enjoy this. If you're a guy, then please don't see this alone. If your significant other wants to see it, then make sure and tell her that she "owes you" and then quietly enjoy watching Mandy Moore for a couple of hours.
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