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Starring Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez
Screenplay by Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi
Directed by John Stockwell

IN SHORT: Less two music vids, a surprising good movie (if you're under 30). [Rated PG-13 for Mature Thematic Material Involving Teens, Drug/Alcohol content, Sexuality & Language. 95 minutes]

And we know Kirsten Dunst is cute ... and all the teen girls at the screening cheered when Jay Hernandez stripped off his shirt, so we've got wallpapers of both of 'em for y'all --Click here -- and CrankyCritic® StarTalk with Kirsten Dunst, too.

OK, let's do this as quickly as possible: take a standard teen love story but stock it with an upper class white chick and a much poorer (but higher in emotional and moral class) Hispanic love interest. Stuff in a dozen or more songs -- let the kidlets sing along on some (that works) or just plug 'em in to subtly promote the soundtrack CD (it's too obvious and overdone) -- some incredible looking teens and just enough nudity to avoid an "R" rating and keep the teen audience and you've got a teenflick with all the points that Cranky likes to rip apart with our usual style and aplomb....

and we thank writers Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi for not going in any of the directions we (or you) that this story could go. We thank actors Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez for doing great jobs (dittos support by Bruce Davison and Taryn Manning). We wish director John Stockwell had dropped at least two or three songs from the "let's show a developing relationship visually set to a potential hit song" realm; we'd ignore it if the audience wasn't doing a negative riff on it.

Our first encounter with the lovely blonde and pale Nicole Oakley (Kirsten Dunst) finds her doing community service time on a California beach. A couple of Hispanic boys make small talk. One of them, Carlo Nuñez (Jay Hernandez), recognizes her from the high school they go to. Carlos "goes" to school, two hours each way on a bus. Nicole makes it a part of her day when she can stumble out of her dad's Malibu mansion and/or decides to actually stay in class. Most of the time she ducks out with best friend Maddy (Taryn Manning) to get high or drunk or both. Nicole is the perfect example of the downward spiral on the road to total self-destruction. Except that she thinks Carlos is cute, and way too straitlaced (he wants to get into Annapolis to become a Navy pilot) to be anything more than a challenge.

You can see it coming: Her lifestyle (drugs, drink, a family split by divorce, the usual) can pull him down. His lifestyle (straight-shootin' man with a plan) holds the potential to save her from the Spiral. Their parents (including Bruce Davison as Nicole's Congressman father), friends, teachers all get in the way, sometimes with good intentions, sometimes not. Love will triumph. Love will end in tears, and/or e) all of the above, done in none of the ways we expected. Only the music video tape segments get in the way.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Crazy/Beautiful, he would have paid . . .


It's a dateflick for the teens/ 20somethings.

amazon com link Click to buy films by John Stockwell
Click to buy films starring Kirsten Dunst
Click to buy films starring Bruce Davison
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