Directed by Forest Whitaker, starring Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas, Amerie Rogers, Michael Keaton and Margaret Colin.

Forest Whitaker's efforts to portray the life of an American President's daughter and her struggle to break free from her overbearingly protective father are dull, drab and directionless. Both the idea and the script are, save for one or two twists, wholly unoriginal. The casting of Katie Holmes and Marc Blucas in the lead roles really says it all. This a movie that always looks good for the cameras but has nothing of real substance underneath.

Samantha Mackenzie (Holmes) has finally reached college-going age and, much to the displeasure of her parents, she decides to choose a west coast institution, thus getting as far away from them as possible. However, her father John Mackenzie (Keaton) is running for re-election and given the security dangers posed to a President's off-spring post-9/11, he insists that an entourage of four muscle-bound secret service agents follow her everywhere around campus. Poor Samantha just wants a normal college experience, but with everyone knowing her face and bodyguards watching her every move, it proves impossible. Things do brighten up, though, when she meets James (Blucas) and falls in love for the first time.

Holmes has been playing the girl next door since her days in the hit TV show 'Dawson's Creek', but it is about time she started to expand her portfolio. She can act and she shows glimpses of that here, but its hard to play that kind of part when you're 30 (she's now 26), and if she's not careful, a few more duds like this could see her consigned to the C-list scrapheap.

While her performance is not completely surprising, Keaton's decision to accept the part of the president is ill-advised. He doesn't look in the least bit presidential, but worse still he turns in a disinterested display. Indeed, he doesn't even get the parent bit right and comes across as more of a suitor than a father (ugh!). It's a far cry from his masterful performances in movies like 'The Dream Team' and 'Beetlejuice'.

Colin as the President's wife, on the other hand, looks distinctly First Lady-ish. Despite this she plays far too a peripheral role to be of any consequence.

Séamus Leonard