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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » First Daughter
First Daughter
Fox // PG // January 25, 2005
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 13, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The second of two "first daughter" pictures, "First Daughter" distanced itself from the similar "Chasing Liberty", but the picture probably was shuffled off even further into the distance when "Liberty" revealed itself not to be a very formidable contender. "First Daughter" is a bit better and a bit less ridiculous, but still rather lightweight and PG-forgettable.

The picture stars Katie Holmes as Sam, a girl who's grown up in the White House, and now finds herself going off to her first year at college. Turned into some sort of fantasy by storybook-esque opening credits, the picture turns college life into something sweet and harmless. After getting away from her secret service detail (in one of the funniest lines, one of the agents hopes that "we're majoring in something fun...light on the math."), she gets a little bit of fun with roommate Mia (Amerie Rogers) and finds romance with James (Marc Blucas, looking oddly like "Newlyweds" Nick Lachey).

A little bit of non-naughty fun at a frat party gets Sam a picture in the New York Post and the irritation of her presidential pop (Michael Keaton). The "rebellion" continues a bit, and the White House finally relents and backs off with the secret service a little. The picture is cute and sweet and its intentions seem good, but where's it going? "Daughter" doesn't have enough to sustain its nearly two hour running time, making the picture feel slow in the middle. Given the picture's PG rating, there's also nothing remotely edgy or potentially offensive about the picture. A fairly big twist towards the end may be one of the main reasons why the picture was moved away from "Chasing Liberty" as much as it was.

The performances are generally good, as Holmes does a fine enough job leading the way (side note: it must be said - the girl needs to eat something.) Blucas and Holmes have inoffensive, nice chemistry, and Keaton is satisfactory in his few scenes as president. The only low note is Amerie Rogers as the roommate, who overdoes her sassy roommate performance. It calls even more attention to itself in a movie where everyone else is generally pretty low-key.

"First Daughter" is sweet and pleasant in that "like me!" way some movies are, and the performances and look of the picture are perfectly fine. However, the story is thin and unremarkable - it's a teen picture, but a little bit of inspiration (the whole fairy tale aspect doesn't work) shouldn't be too much to ask.


The DVD

VIDEO: "First Daughter" is presented by Fox in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame across a dual-sided/single-layered disc. The anamorphic widescreen presentation presented somewhat above-average image quality, with sharpness and detail that remained very good, but not extraordinary, as fine object defintion wasn't strong. Still, the picture maintained a pretty consistent appearance, with no noticable softness.

Brief, slight edge enhancement appeared a couple of times during the proceedings, but wasn't enough to be really problematic. Some minor pixelation was spotted a few times, but also wasn't enough of an issue to cause distraction. The print seemed to be in fine condition, aside from a speck or two and a couple of instances where grain was present.

Colors looked fine throughout, with nice saturation and only a couple of instances where they seemed a bit smeary. Black level seemed solid, while flesh tones looked natural and accurate.

SOUND: "First Daughter" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The fairly unambitious sound design delivers exactly what one would expect from this kind of material. The surrounds do kick in to deliver the songs/score on the soundtrack, but otherwise remain essentially silent. Audio quality remained fine, with clear dialogue and music.

EXTRAS: The main supplement is a cast commentary by Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas, and Amerie Rogers. I like Katie Holmes a lot (and she does have a very devoted following), but I knew I was in for some trouble after a few fairly lengthy spots of silence passed in the first several minutes. When the three do chat, they really just make small talk - I didn't make it through this whole commentary, and didn't learn much from what I heard. Rounding out the disc are two featurettes ("The Final Score: Remembering Michael Kamen" and "Fox Trot"), as well as two deleted scenes.

Final Thoughts: "First Daughter" is sweet fluff, offering a few good performances and some pleasant moments, but no lasting impression. Those in the target audience might want to give it a spin as a rental. Fox's DVD edition provides fine audio/video quality, and a few okay supplements.

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