Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 25th, 2004
Mandy Moore plays Anna Foster, daughter of President Mark Harmon. She is extremelyfrustrated with the fact that her social life is consistently ruined by the vast phalanx of SecretService personnel that shadow her every move. Harmon promises to ease up on her while theyvisit Prague, but he breaks his promise, and she flees, hooking up with handsome photographerMatthew Goode. A travelogue of Europe ensues, with romance aborning. Trouble is, Good isactually another Secret Ser…ice man, assigned to Moore.
Romantic comedies, by their very nature, are fantasies, and so one should expect too muchhard-edged reality to creep in. Nonetheless, the depiction of the First Family is so outlandishlyfairy-taled that Shrek would want to torch the whole scene. As for the romance itself, it plays outin an utterly predictable manner, with every plot element telegraphed so early, the viewer needhardly show up. Some minor pleasures can be squeezed from long-suffering agents JeremyPiven and Annabella Sciorra, but that’s not enough to see you through.
For a film that uses a heck of a lot of music (this is another film that plays like a feature-length ad for the soundtrack CD), the soundtrack could use a bit more oomph, especially in thebass. The music sounds a bit thinner than it should (the exception being the night club sequence,which sounds just fine). There is also the occasional bit of distortion when the dialogue hits theupper registers. The surround effects have decent placement, but there aren’t that many of them,and there isn’t much of an environment created.
The opening scenes are ea bit murky and soft, perhaps due to inadequate CGI trying toconvince us that we’re in Washington. There is also some grain in the exterior long shots.Otherwise, the transfer is very good, with very warm, rich colours, and no visible edgeenhancement.
Moore and Goode do the commentary, and at one point admit that their talk must be prettydull. Too true. There are plenty of long silences, and then much oohing and aahing about howgreat every single person in the film was, and how gorgeous Europe was. “Passport to Europe”is a featurette disguised as a travel guide. The night club scene’s song — “The Seed” by TheRoots — is performed in its entirety in another feature. There is a brief montage of deleted scenes,a gag reel that consists entirely of Jeremy Previn ad-libs, and the theatrical trailer. The menu’smain page, intro and transitions are animated and scored.
There’s isn’t too much egregiously awful here, but the mediocrity will have you slumpedin slumber in pretty short order. If you’re a fan of Mandy Moore and like the premise, however,the execution is sufficiently competent that you’ll likely enjoy the story.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- “Passport to Europe” Featurette
- “The Seed” Performance by The Roots
- Additional Scenes Montage
- Gag Reel
- Theatrical Trailer