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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

(Photo by Christine Loss. TM and 2003 by Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. and Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. All rights reserved.)

photo caption:
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL APPEARANCE: Samantha (Katie Holmes, center) emerges from the presidential limousine with her mother (Margaret Colin, left) and her father the President (Michael Keaton, right) to make yet another appearance in the endless round of political appearances required by the country's top politician.
end caption.

"First Daughter": President's Overprotected Daughter Heads to College in Uneven Comedy

Review by Kam Williams

The way Samantha (Katie Holmes) sees it, she never has a moment of privacy. That's because her father (Michael Keaton) is President of the United States, which means she lives in the fishbowl known as the White House. And during an election year, the scrutiny is going to be even more intense.

The recent high school grad, who has grown up in the public eye, is eagerly anticipating her first taste of freedom. When she matriculates as a freshman 3000 miles away in California at mythical Redmond University, Sam starts to partake in all the rites of passage of the average college kid.

What the naïve coed didn't realize, however, was that her father assigned a detail of Secret Service Agents to monitor her every move, and the paparazzi were tracking all of her extracurricular activities. Soon, snapshots of Samantha in compromising positions end up plastered on the covers of tabloids like the New York Post and National Enquirer, under headlines such as, "Sam's Secret Boyfriend."

First Daughter is a film which moves between being a melancholy, coming-of-age, movie about first love, and a scatterbrained teen comedy looking for cheap laughs. The picture was directed by Forest Whitaker who has consistently exhibited far more promise in front of the camera (The Crying Game and Panic Room) than behind it (Waiting to Exhale and Hope Floats).

The production has problems: the storyline closely resembles Chasing Liberty, the movie starring Mandy Moore also as the President's 18 year-old daughter, who was a rebel who felt oppressed by the incessant attention from her ubiquitous protectors. Chasing Liberty also has the same plot twist as First Daughter.

At 26, Katie Holmes looks too mature to be playing the naive teenager in a title role. The same can be said for Amerie Rogers (24) and Marc Blucas (32) who co-star as Sam's roommate and bodyguard-turned-boyfriend, respectively.

The film's overriding failing is the incongruous contrasts between its humorous and tender moments. One minute, Sam is being serenaded while sitting in a rowboat holding a parasol, the next, she's cutting loose at a frat party or a strip club. The upshot is that neither of her personas is particularly convincing.

Fair (1 star). Rated PG for mild epithets, alcohol abuse, and teen sexuality. Running time: 105 minutes.

end of review.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.


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