A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated PG for language, sexual situations and alcohol-related material
Starring:Katie Holmes, Michael Keaton
Directed By:Forest Whitaker
Before going to see First Daughter in Theaters I decided to try and do a little research. I wanted to find out why girls are obsessed with stories of beautiful young princess’s finding romance. “Why can’t the story be about a normal girl?” I asked. After all guys like stories of normal guys who do really cool things in action films. Why must the girl always be a princess? After a long time of surveying a lot of girls, I didn’t get a real great answer. Maybe I didn’t get a good answer because as one girl told me, “you are a boy, you just wouldn’t understand.” But after discovering I wouldn’t understand, I headed to the theaters anyway.
Katie Holmes stars in First Daughter as Samantha Mackenzie, the daughter of the president. Sam wants to get out of the pressures of and the limelight and chooses to go to college thousands of miles away from the White House. But Sam quickly learns that there is no escaping being the President’s daughter anywhere she goes. Sam has to learn to make friends, fall in love and try to live a normal life in college with two secret service men following her around, and a nation that watches her every move.
I swear we saw this same story earlier this year. Oh wait folks, we did! It was called Chasing Liberty and Starred Mandy Moore instead of Katie Holmes. While I did miss out on the wonder known as Chasing Liberty, a copy of the DVD sits on my shelves here because of the girlfriend. Someday I may get around to it. I have read 90% of the shooting script to Chasing Liberty though and out of what I remember First Daughter is almost…Gasp! The Same Story! Why they released two of these films in the same year is beyond me, but out of everything I have read and heard, First Daughter is the better film.
What I do know from watching First Daughter is that Katie Holmes is the most adorable, charming young girls on the big screen today. She is attractive and she can act. This has been proven in a plethora of films Holmes has been in over the last few years, including Pieces of April. She pretty much shines all through this film as well, even in spots where the story itself drags. Her co-star Amerie Rogers who plays Mia, the college roommate also does a great job as well.
Michael Keaton plays the president in the film and while it is nice to see him, he seems very out of place. Keaton was once a star with the Batman films, but then disappeared into the senseless void for a few years. Now every time I see him I just picture him saying, “I’m Batman.” Poor guy. There is even a scene where he comes upstairs from the white house basement to say share a midnight snack with his daughter. As she asks him, “Where did you come from Dad?” I almost immediately expected him to say, “I was in the batcave and thought I heard something amuck upstairs.
First Daughter succeeds as a film is through its comedic moments. From start to finish the story is filled full of fun characters, whether it be great lines given to Samantha, Her roommate Mia, or Sam’s two secret service agents that accompany her on a day to day basis. Little comments like Mia referring to the Secret Service men as Men in Black action figures gives the audience something to chuckle about.
On top of that the film is family friendly! Unlike Chasing Liberty that has a few scenes that might have parents covering their little ones eyes, First Daughter is good clean family fun from start to finish. There really isn’t anything in the film that would have parents covering the eyes of their young ones, yet the film isn’t a complete cheese fest either. It works well as a fun “date” movie for the unlucky boys who get drug to it by their loving girlfriends as well as a film for the young girl who still wants to see the beautiful girl get her dream guy.
In the end, First Daughter works well for what it is. The problem is that it so formulaic it’s so easy to compare to other films. While I don’t suggest for you to run right out and see the film right away, you could do far worse. In a genre of film where I normally cringe, I found a little enjoyment. Check it out if you are in the mood for something light-hearted and chick flicktastic.