Published Dec 01, 2003I guess there's a mandatory quotient of wholesome, innocent girl-next-door films that needs to be filled in order to balance out all the sexed-up Britney and Christina worship in teeny-bopper pop culture. But I'm not sure if that's an attempt at infiltrating puritanical values or just another dirty fantasy for repressed executives in big glass towers the pouting crotch-flashy girls push the coital crap out right away, but good girls like Mandy Moore make you want to deflower their overtly-stated virginity. Either way, I'm not sure who exactly this movie is for.
So here's the scoop: Miss Moore is Anna Foster, 18-year-old daughter of the predictably overprotective president of the United States and his always caring and more understanding of a girl's needs first lady. Living in the Whitehouse and trying to be a regular teen with concerts, romance and gossip is too frustrating for this rebel at heart (within limits), so she dyes her hair and takes off with hunky Ben Calder, the sexy but unassuming boundary-respecting British knight on a shining motorcycle who whisks her away and keeps following her and protecting her despite her mysterious identity and embarrassing finally free antics.
The fact that Ben has a secret too sets up the rest of the movie fall in love, finally do the deed, learn the truth, get mad, run away, go to Harvard and then eventually fall in love again after finding out that boy makes a quiet sacrifice for betrayed girl.
All in all it makes for a pretty good date, whether you're pre-teen and honestly digging the whole holding hands and saving yourself thing or a cynical 20-something shooting down every scene with pretentious commentary and swear words. The first thing the dude behind me said at the closing credits was, "well, that was a shitty movie," but hey, at least the Roots were in it. They're kind of cool, right? (Warner)