Crazy/Beautiful (2001)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Jun 29, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Michael Hastings

For a while, it seems as if crazy/beautiful has more on its mind than the average forbidden romance teen flick: employing two talented young actors (Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez) as well as a gritty, realistic look, director John Stockwell clearly aspires to resonate with his target audience in a way uncommon to turn-of-the-century youth product. If only he had ordered a few more rewrites of Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi's script. With its hazy, dappled sunlight and themes of class, substance abuse, and disaffection, crazy calls to mind great films of the '70s; unfortunately, the similarities prove mostly superficial, as the plot heads off into territory normally reserved for melodramatic pap like Endless Love (1981) or Splendor in the Grass (1961). Since her emotional state is so vaguely described -- is she drunk, high, mentally unbalanced, or just plain sullen? -- Dunst's character grows more and more frustrating over the course of the film. Worse, it's hard to see what a cool, collected guy like Hernandez would want with her. (Though there's an insinuation that he's interested in a taste of the forbidden, the idea is quickly dropped.) By the time the plot performs its final logistic somersault, most viewers -- teen or otherwise -- will no doubt be inclined to describe crazy/beautiful by using only the former half of its title.