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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Crazy/Beautiful

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jay Hernandez
Director: John Stockwell
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: June 2001
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Bruce Davison, Lucinda Jenney, Taryn Manning, Keram Malicki-Sanchez

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

It's rare to find a teenage love story that appeals to adults, too, but this saga of a rich, rebellious Congressman's daughter and a poor Hispanic guy from East L.A. who has faith in her crosses generational boundaries as it also explores the bond between parent and child.

Talented Kirsten Dunst plays Nicole, a sexually-aggressive, self-destructive teen, who makes a play for Jay Hernandez, as Carlos, a hunky Latino schoolmate. Raised by a busy politician, Tom Oakley, (Bruce Davison) and a distracted step-mother (Lucinda Jenney), Nicole's a damaged, defiant drunk with a D.U.I. record, while Carlos is well-mannered, respectful, grateful to be able to attend the suburban school, and determined to get into the U.S. Naval Academy. Nevertheless, their steamy romance flourishes - much to the dismay of their parents. His struggling single mother (Soledad St. Hilaire) is justifiably afraid that flaky, grungy Nicole will distract her son from his dream of being a pilot, and Oakley agrees. "I love her but she can be so destructive," he warns. But Carlos won't give up on Nicole, sensing the deep hurt beneath her angst. With the intensity of first love, he's truly there for her when she needs him. And that, in itself, should give parents something provocative to talk about with their teens, along with the reckless permissiveness (regarding promiscuous sex, booze and drugs) of Nicole's parents.

Written by Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi and directed by John Stockwell, this romantic melodrama, full of sincere performances, is yet another twist on the familiar inter-racial dating theme explored in "Save the Last Dance." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "crazy/beautiful" is a serious, syrupy 6, showing that it's not what you have in your life but who.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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