"Is she finally old enough for me to drool over? Thank GOD!"
I love Kirsten Dunst. Always have. I was fascinated by her performance in Interview with the Vampire and I've enjoyed watching her grow up (and out) over the years in movies like Greedy, Jumanji, Wag the Dog, Small Soldiers, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dick and Bring It On. And now she's like the next best thing. Cool. She's a sweetie.So does all that stuff explain why two 29-year old men went to see Crazy/Beautiful? (Yes, my buddy Jason is also afflicted by the accursed Dunst Syndrome.) We knew it was going to be a after-school-special sort of sweetie romance movie. The sort of movie that 12-year old girls call their "favorite movie ever" before they discover Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Titanic.
The story is as old as the hills, although they're tweaked just enough to avoid being truly cliche-ridden: Rich girl Nicole meets Poor Boy Carlos and they quickly spark a sweet romance. This time around, the rich girl has some severe emotional baggage and a congressman Daddy, while the boy is an ambitious Mexican lad with his eyes of the Air Force.
And while their tumultuous relationship hits more than a few predictable snags, most of the resolutions offered are a few points better than you'd expect. The script often approaches the cinematic potholes of cliche and stereotype, but generally veers clear of these hindrances and the movie even succeeds wildly at some points.
Unfortunately, the pacing is often all off, which is particularly damaging to a movie like this. Strong emotional scenes are followed by some interminable stretches of meandering plot developments before revving back up again.
Most of this movie's success can be directly attributed to the performances of the two stars. Kirsten Dunst adds another winning performance to her body of work, and I'm not just saying that cuz she's all dreamy and stuff. This girl is a damn fine actor. The true find in Crazy/Beautiful is Jay Hernandez as the smitten Carlos. Keep an eye out for this kid.
Bruce Davison offers a surprisingly multi-faceted performance as Nicole's congressman Dad, and his character offers most of the movie's best scenes. Faring not as well is Lucinda Jenney as Nicole's uncaring (and depressingly one-dimensional) wicked stepmother.Considering the questionable quality of most "teen-oriented" movies, this one is a generally welcome change. A few new brush strokes are added to some of cinema's oldest canvases, and the result is a movie that may not change your life, but there are certainly worse ways to spend 100 minutes. Plus, Freddie Prinze Jr. is nowhere to be found. Any teen movie that can claim that automatically earns 2 stars.