[box cover]

Chasing Liberty

All human cargo under the protection of the Secret Service is assigned a code-name — in the case of 18-year-old Anna Foster (Mandy Moore), it's "Liberty." Which, for Anna, is fittingly ironic. The daughter of President James Foster (Mark Harmon), she's lived in the political spotlight since she was four and her family moved into a governor's mansion. Now on the brink of adulthood, her address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — which means she can't leave the house without a detail of black SUVs in tow, and any boy she dates risks getting wrestled to the floor if he makes any sudden movements. Anna hates it, but her over-protective father isn't about to let her out of the Secret Service's sight, and he certainly isn't willing to let her go to Berlin's annual "Love Parade" after an official First Family visit to the continent. But during a night on the town in Prague with an ambassador's libertine daughter (Beatrice Rosen), Anna bolts from a club, one step ahead of the Secret Service and straight into the arms of scooter-driving photographer Ben Calder (Matthew Goode). The good-looking Englishman ferries her off to a bar and — surprise — calls his superiors like a good agent to report that he has Liberty. But when the president gets word of what's going on, he gives Calder an unusual assignment: Stay with his daughter for the time being and grant her the illusion of freedom on European soil. A shameless, if rather loose, update of Roman Holiday (1953), Chasing Liberty (2004) may lack the classic appeal of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, but it is a light, entertaining entry into the teenage rom-com genre. Apple-cheeked Mandy Moore may not be blessed with a great deal of thespian range, but she's a photogenic leading girl who also has an authentic quality to her, and for a movie that's targeted toward women under the age of 25, one can't doubt that she will continue to be a bankable commodity in mid-list projects such as this. Newcomer Matthew Goode is equally good-looking and natural in front of the camera, and his many sardonic comments sound almost too perfect in his sexy English baritone — if he's supposed to make the girls' hearts palpitate, he's a fine fit for this European escapade. Mark Harmon could get solid work for another decade just by showing up in teen films in paternal roles. Sure, he's supposed to be the dad here (as he was the boyfriend in Freaky Friday [2003]), but his mature good-looks don't hurt a bit. Meanwhile, Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra lend comic relief as the two Secret Service agents who are assigned to keep an eye on Anna during her continental adventure. Warner's DVD release of Chasing Liberty features a solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Supplements include a commentary track from stars Moore and Goode, the featurette "Passport to Europe" (6 min.), an excerpt from the live concert scene by the band The Roots (4 min.), a deleted scenes reel (9 min.), a gag reel (5 min.), and the theatrical trailer. Snap-case.
—JJB



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