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