First Daughter

Bomb Rating: 

You know that impending terrorist attack they've been warning us about? I think this movie may be it. If I were the real U.S. President and saw this movie, I would immediately surround Hollywood with an invasion force and stop at nothing until director Forest Whitaker had been tracked down and dug out of his spider hole.

"First Daughter" is so bad, it may actually one day become a cult favorite, a centerpiece of midnight showings where drunken, rowdy homosexuals gather to dress up like the characters, recite the lines in unison, and throw condoms at the screen whenever first daughter Samantha (Katie Holmes) and love interest James (Marc Blucas) come together to exchange strained romantic platitudes.

After this movie is over, you'll know what muscles you use to cringe, because they'll be sore by the time the final credits roll. Though she's the daughter of the U.S. President (Michael Keaton), Samantha just wants to go to college and be a "normal girl." You know how to wrap up these "princess just wants to be normal" movies in about 30 seconds? Put princess in a Wal-Mart uniform on the graveyard shift and take away her health care benefits. Since this is Hollywood, however, and not heaven, that doesn't happen here. Samantha's journey of self-discovery entails a mind-numbing procession of staged "spontaneous" collegiate moments. One example: At James's urging, she eats popcorn and chocolate candies -- TOGETHER! "It's disgusting; I like it!" she enthuses as the audience, of course, cringes.

Every interaction between the uncomfortably wholesome Samantha and her uncomfortably earnest family and friends makes you want to turn away from the screen. I haven't seen this much forced warmth since John McCain joined George W. Bush on the campaign trail. An argument between Samantha and President Dad is about as engaging as watching John Kerry debate himself.

The screenplay deserves special mention. The actors should get Oscar nominations just for managing to deliver some of these lines with a straight face. The president cracks a joke when Samantha is ferried to the campaign office in a bikini: "I don't negotiate with people in swimwear." HA HA! It goes downhill from there. The screenplay seems to be written at an eighth-grade level, making Samantha's "college" feel a lot more like high school. It's a rare script that's bad enough to inspire me to dig into the background of the writers, but notes that one of the co-writers is a "former model." Let's just say you don't need Zapruder footage to figure out what brought this film down.

"First Daughter" should be impeached.

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