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crazy/beautiful introduces us to Carlos (Jay Hernandez), a Hispanic teen living in LA's Boyle Heights. The victim of a runaway father, his mother works hard to provide him additional opportunities, including attending school in prestigious Pacific Palisades. With high hopes for his future, Carlos tackles each school day, framed by a two-hour bus ride, with determination and focus... until he meets Nicole (Kirsten Dunst).
Picking up litter to satisfy a community service sentence for a DUI charge, Nicole is obviously everything Carlos isn't. The daughter of a congressman, her palatial Palisades glass house clearly represents the fragility of a life dominated by frequent intoxication, depression, and suicide attempts--the very situation that took her mother's life. Unable to relate to her stepmother, and with her father's busy schedule, Nicole is the poor rich girl desperate for someone to love. Pleading for Carlos's affection, she feeds on his increasing infatuation.
This melodramatic Romeo and Juliet is amiss in not including a scene where the love struck Carlos plucks petals from a daisy while chanting, "She's crazy. She's beautiful. She's crazy..." At the very least, it would explain the title. Playing a girl who appears to have forgotten to shower for a few months, the usually attractive Dunst is hardly "beautiful." As for "crazy," her character suffers from severe depression and indulges in risk taking to attract her father's attention.
With a highly promiscuous past, Nicole's wardrobe (which often barely covers her breasts), aggressive sexual behavior (her first attempt to seduce Carlos is in her glass bedroom while her father roams past outside), and addiction to alcohol, is a dangerous combination. Eventually succumbing to her advances, Carlos begins a sexually charged relationship (generously depicted with near nudity) in the hope of saving Nicole by providing the love that she yearns for.
With a realistic cocktail of teen emotions and high school life followed by a highly optimistic (and unlikely) ending chaser, crazy/beautiful uncorks some serious topics but doesn't fully explore the consequences, leaving teens with mixed messages about the balance between sex/love and Carlos' role as a rescuer/enabler.
crazy/beautiful is rated PG-13: for mature thematic involving teens, drug/alcohol content, sexuality and language
Cast: Kirsten Dunst Jay Hernandez
Studio: (pictures (c)2001 Touchstone Pictures)