First Daughter (2004)
Holmes sets a Precedent for the President
A chocolate snack must be poured directly over the popcorn. That way you get that delicious salty sweet mixture, and a little melted chocolate - James
Samantha Mackenzie (Katie Holmes - Phone Booth) has always lead a fairytale life, not surprising as the only daughter of the President growing up in the Whitehouse. But now as she heads off to college all she wants is to be treated like a normal teenager, not so easy when she has a small army of secret service agents who follow her everywhere as well as the press reporting on her every move and college indiscretion. So unhappy is Samantha that she can't lead a normal life that her father arranges for the number of agents to be cut down but doesn't tell her that instead he has placed one agent undercover as a college student. And when Samantha falls for the handsome and protective James (Marc Blucas) she has no idea that he is an undercover agent.
Imagine having grown up in the public eye and just when you think you may be able to escape and experience normality you still end up with cameras pointed at you all the time. That is basically the idea which builds up the first half third of "First Daughter" as we watch Samantha struggle with trying to be a normal college student only to have to deal with not only the press but hulking security agents escorting her everywhere. It is a fun idea with some fun scenes as Samantha really struggles with not doing anything which may look bad for her father.
But after this semi original build up "First Daughter" then reverts to type as we have a typical teen romance as Samantha falls for James, completely unaware that this nice guy is in fact an undercover agent assigned to protection. It means that there are complications on the cards at some point when the truth comes out and Samantha feels betrayed. For young audiences the fun of the romance may be enough to keep you entertained but for anyone over the age of 16 will spot the familiar theme coming from a mile off and making "First Daughter" sadly generic. Even the attempts to bring some drama into the mix fails to make it feel anything other than predictable.
But whilst "First Daughter" ends up a very run of the mill teen romantic drama it is extremely well cast. Michael Keaton makes for a very good President as well as a father, especially during the scene where he has to leave Samantha at college and Marc Blucas maybe be a generic love interest as James at least he does look the part. But more significantly it is Katy Holmes who is perfectly cast because she has this youthful glamour about her, a sort of princess vibe going on and it is spot on for the character. Holmes may not be tested when it comes to the actual acting but she plays the role with the mix of humour and vulnerability required.
What this all boils down to is that "First Daughter" is a pleasant, fun movie but one which is also just average. In a way this routine teen romantic drama is a waste of a good idea, as the trials and tribulations of the President's daughter going to college would have made a fun movie without the romantic drama but instead what you get is what you will have seen in numerous other teen romantic dramas, a bit of fairytale fantasy and fun.
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