Chasing Liberty

Bomb Rating: 

Enlightened viewers may recall "Roman Holiday" as they watch this tale of the President's daughter, Anna Foster (Mandy Moore), being swept away by a regular guy, Ben Calder (Matthew Goode), with a hidden agenda. Enlightened viewers may also recall the time they reached through the fence to pet the cute dog only to have it chomp down on their hand like a starving crocodile.

While Mandy Moore probably won't be getting any 24-hour publicity marriages or having her sexcapades broadcast across the Internet, her handlers might want to enroll her in a personality class. The most striking moment in the movie comes when, having lumbered through every requisite romantic cliché, Moore turns toward the camera while sitting at an outdoor café in Venice and holds up a Pepsi can.

Director Andy Cadiff comes from the "watch me try so hard" school of romantic comedy. Among other things, this school teaches that the most important thing about romantic comedy is that any remotely emotional moment must be accompanied by some perfectly matched song spat from the Ballad-O-Matic 3000. Thus, when Anna and Ben's impromptu European fling comes to an abrupt end, some cutesy song called "Life Will Go On" assaults the audience as the dejected Ben mopes away. This kind of thing is mildly annoying the first time it happens. After the tenth time, you want clamber up the theater walls and physically attack a theater speaker.

Had Cadiff really wanted to capture the true tenor of the moment, he would have played the Pepto Bismol theme as the credits rolled.

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