April 19, 1998 – The Television Movie My Date with the President’s Daughter Premieres on ABC
“’Daddy?’ You mean, the President? Of our country?”
On April 19, 1998, the made-for-television movie My Date with the President’s Daughter premiered on ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney programming block. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film was written by William Robertson and Alex Zamm, and was directed by Zamm. It starred Dabney Coleman as President Richmond, Will Friedle as Duncan Fletcher, Elisabeth Harnois as Hallie Richmond, Mimi Kuzyk as Caroline Richmond, Wanda Cannon as Rita Fletcher, and Jay Thomas as Charles Fletcher.
The film begins with teenager Hallie Richmond being woken up early on a Saturday morning to attend another event for her parents, as her father is the President of the United States. She heads into the dining room for breakfast, where her dad is working on a speech about the future of America. Her father is working with his campaign manager, while her mother is working on her schedule as the First Lady. Hallie begs to stay home, but her family needs her there to show that they are a happy family for publicity’s sake. Hallie works up the courage to ask her father to go to the dance at her school, but as it is an election year and he’s about to go campaigning, she will be unable to go. While at an event at a new daycare center, the Vice-President’s son Reid tries to hit on Hallie, but she is rather hostile to his advances. Hallie spots a mall nearby, and decides to slip away to go shopping like a normal teenager for once.
In a CD store, Duncan Fletcher starts working on his magic act in front of his friends, who are embarrassed that he would do something like that in public. They think that he could never find a girl for the dance, but Duncan says that he doesn’t even want to go to the dance. When they bet him $50 to find a date, he takes the bet and decides to ask out the next girl he sees. He spots Hallie in a store trying on hats, and is instantly smitten. As he attempts to approach her, but is really shy in talking with her. When she spots some Secret Service agents, she starts to flee. He stops her by asking her to the dance at his school, and as she is unable to go to her own school’s dance, she readily accepts, and tells him to pick her up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, when she asks her father to go, he refuses to let her. She finally lets loose her feelings about her father being president and ruining her life, but her mother asks her step outside for a moment. Her mother fights for her, and her father finally relents, letting her go on her date, although they want to meet him.
Duncan gets ready for his date, while his parents get ready for a party that night. His father won’t let him borrow the company car, but he decides to take it anyway, instead of the family’s station wagon. When he pulls up to the White House, he thinks that Hallie played a practical joke on him, but still goes in, thinking that maybe he got the address wrong somehow. When he goes to security, he’s surprised that he’s allowed in, and even more shocked that she’s the President’s daughter. He’s taken to meet the President, and sits there nervously. The Secret Service gives Duncan a list of places they’re approved to go, with his school not on the list. Duncan is even more shocked when Hallie tells him that they’ll talk about the dance later. The drive on their date is rather uncomfortable, as two Secret Service agents are crammed into the backseat. They head to the movies, and Hallie tells them they need to ditch the agents to get to the dance, and they’re able to make a break for it. As they head to the dance, she asks to stop at a store to get new clothes. The agents soon notice that the couple is missing, and scramble to find them.
The head of the Secret Service soon alerts the President and the First Lady that Hallie and Duncan have slipped past the agents, and the First Lady keeps the President from panicking, although the President asks that Duncan’s parents be brought to the fundraiser. At the clothing store, Duncan waits for Hallie to pick on outfit, and after she picks something, she starts picking out an outfit for him. He uses his father’s credit card to pay for both outfits, and Hallie decides that they should go to Club Alien instead, a new club that just opened. She then asks Duncan to drive his car, and while he is nervous about doing so, she convinces him to let her. Meanwhile, at the Fletcher residence, Duncan’s father notices that the company car is gone just as the Secret Service arrives. While Hallie and Duncan drive, they are harassed by some rednecks. She runs over one of the redneck’s shoes as she drives away, and they park in a parking lot near Club Alien, with Hallie dying to go inside. At the fundraiser, the Fletchers are brought inside, although Mr. Fletcher is not a fan of the President in the slightest. The President asks where they could have gone, and Mr. Fletcher says that Duncan was going to the dance at his high school.
Hallie asks Duncan to dance, but he nervously heads off to the restroom instead. As she waits, she runs into a guy she spotted earlier on a motorcycle, and goes off to dance with him. Duncan calls his friends to let him know that he’s with the President’s daughter, and ups the bet. When he heads back to find Hallie, he sees her dancing with someone else, and drops his keys. He runs across the redneck again, and tells Hallie they need to run. She bumps into Reid, and tries to blow him off. When the rednecks catch up with her, she convinces them that Reid is the guy from the car, and they take him away to beat him up. As they drive away, the couple has a fight, and the car gets a flat tire. Reid, having been beaten to a pulp, is taken back to the fundraiser to talk to the President, giving them Hallie’s location. Duncan’s father storms away to go search for the two, and the President goes with him, giving his own Secret Service detail the slip.
Duncan manages to fix his flat tire, but Hallie has gone missing. When he asks a nearby homeless man where she’s gone, he finds she’s gone into a nearby pool hall. As he demands Hallie that they go, the men of the pool hall refuse to let her go, and start to beat him up. To get out of his precarious situation, he impresses the group with his magic tricks, and impresses Hallie. They manage to slip out unscathed, and he is flattered that Hallie finds his magic so cool. They then find that the car has been stolen, and she tries to stop him from going to the police to report it. The two people that stole Duncan’s car go on a crime spree, and they pass by Mr. Fletcher and the President. Thinking it’s the two kids, the two men quickly follow them, and are soon pulled over by the police. The President and Mr. Fletcher are arrested and locked up, as the officer doesn’t believe that the President is who he says he is. The two men, however, start to talk and bond over their busy lives and being a parent.
Hallie and Duncan take the bus, and Hallie asks if there’s anything else they could do before they turn themselves in to the police, as she wants to do something normal. He tells her that having a normal life is boring, and she says that she can’t even have a boring moment. The bus passes by the protest at her father’s fundraiser, and Hallie decides she wants to check it out. When one woman is interviewed about why she’s protesting and starts trashing President Richmond, calling him a crook, Hallie defends her father on the news. The agents spot the teenagers and rush out to get them, although Hallie and Duncan make a break for it. The First Lady and Mrs. Fletcher go to the police station to pick up their husbands, and the President decides to go back to the White House to wait for his daughter rather than the fundraiser. Duncan and Hallie end up climbing up to the roof of a building, and Duncan finally admits that he’s not everything he says he is. She admits that she was impressed with how much he wanted to impress her, and apologizes for not being upfront about who she was. The two share a moment together, and dance together when they hear a slow jazz melody play. He still tries to get her to go to the dance, and when he finally reveals the bet, she gets angry and storms off. He follows her, but she is stopped once again by Steve, the guy on the bike from earlier. He offers to take her to a party, and when she sees Duncan, she agrees. Although Duncan warns her not to go with him, she takes off anyway.
The two people that stole the car are apprehended, and are mistaken as Duncan and Hallie, much to the surprise of the Fletchers and the Richmonds. Hallie arrives at the party at Steve’s place, and is immediately unimpressed. Duncan continues to track down Steve, although he doesn’t have much luck. Steve starts to make the moves on Hallie, but she shuts him down. She asks him to take her home, but he refuses. At the right moment, Duncan arrives to rescue her and take her home. Steve starts a fight with Duncan, and while it looks like Steve will really hurt Duncan, when Steve hurts Hallie, Duncan has a new reserve to fight back, and knocks out Steve with one punch. She takes Steve’s bike and crashes it before they leave and head back to the White House. The pair watches the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial, and realize that the two actually like each other as they share a kiss. Hallie heads home on her own, and the President dismisses his men to deal with Hallie on his own terms. He gives her a hug and accepts her apology, although she is still going to be punished for her actions.
Duncan and his father pick up the car from the impound lot, with Duncan being grounded indefinitely. Mr. Fletcher tells him that he wants to spend more time with him, but crashes the car when he finds out about Duncan using his credit card. The next school day, Duncan pays his friends for the bet, and while they don’t believe what he actually did that Saturday night, he tells them he doesn’t care. While in class, he gets a visit from the Secret Service, and everyone watches as he is taken to see the President. Duncan tries to take the blame for the date, but the President tells him that Hallie told him everything, and thanks him sincerely for saving Hallie from Steve. He then gives Duncan permission to date Hallie, and then asks for a favor: Mr. Fletcher’s dad’s boss is going to play golf with the President, effectively giving Mr. Fletcher a promotion. Duncan later goes to pick up Hallie for a date, and they’re followed by a Secret Service detail that includes four SUVs and a helicopter.