First Daughter (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/02/2005

One out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Lifeless, badly written, cliché-ridden drama that wastes the talents of everyone involved. Even Marc Blucas deserves better than this.

Frankly, if First Daughter and White Noise are Michael Keaton’s first two steps on the comeback trail, then he’d really better hope that Lindsay Lohan turns things around in Herbie: Fully Loaded later this year, because on the evidence here, he’s heading in the wrong direction. Make no mistake about it, First Daughter should have gone direct to video. As it is, it’s hard to know who to pity the most: Keaton, Katie Holmes or Forest Whitaker.

Boring One From Buffy Entertains Presidents Daughter

To be fair, it’s not really Keaton’s movie and you can’t really blame him for jumping at the chance to play the President - he probably didn’t even read the script first. Katie Holmes, on the other hand, has no excuse; she plays the President’s daughter, Samantha Mackenzie, a young woman who has grown up in the media spotlight and longs for a “normal life” at university.

However, when she arrives, she finds herself under constant Secret Service surveillance, with reporters watching her every move and her fellow students either starstruck or resentful. Things get more complicated when she falls for James, her dorm’s Residential Advisor (Marc Blucas, the boring one from Buffy), who sneaks her away from her bodyguards and shows her as good a time as a PG rating will allow. But is he everything she thinks he is?

Films such as A Cinderella Story and the Princess Diaries movies have proven that there is a certain amount of comic mileage in the ‘American Princess’ story and the recent Julia Stiles flick The Prince & Me covered much the same ground but with the genders reversed. There’s no excuse, then, for First Daughter to be as lifeless as it is.

The script is atrocious, consisting entirely of platitudes and clichés and playing it safe at every turn by refusing to even engage in political debate (Sam walks away from a challenge to defend her father’s policies). It’s also bookended by an astonishingly mawkish, vomit-inducing voiceover from director Forest Whitaker himself that has to be heard to be believed.

Keaton And Holmes Should Fire Their Agents

The characters are so badly underwritten that both Keaton and Holmes struggle to do anything at all with the material. As a result, Keaton has no personality at all, beyond Over-protective Dad and all Holmes can do is flash her pearly-white grin once in a while and hope for the best. In fact, she does this so much they could easily have re-titled the film ‘Katie Holmes Smiling’. Blucas matches her smile-for-smile, but he’s saddled with a ludicrous script that does his character no favours at all.

The only bright point in the entire film is R&B singer Amerie, who makes her acting debut as Sam’s party-loving roommate and pretty much tries to sleep with everyone she sees.

In short, First Daughter is poorly directed and badly written and as a result, it fails completely on every level. In fact, both Keaton and Holmes should seriously consider firing their agents, as they both deserve better than this. Now, if only they’d made it about the Bush Twins…

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First Daughter (PG)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 15:39

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