Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring:||Kirsten Dunst, Jay Hernandez, Lucinda Jenney, Taryn Manning, Bruce Davison|
|Producer:||Harry Ufland, Mary Jane Ufland, Rachel Pfeffer|
Disney’s Touchstone Pictures once again launches it’s assault on today’s youth and the family. The studio was warned and encouraged to trim the R-rated project “Crazy/Beautiful” to a PG-13 release. This came to studio executives after the decision to do the same as “Save the Last Dance” (which was also originally rated “R”). With razor precision and the 2001 MPAA’s generous blurring of boundaries and standards, Touchstone complied. (This usually guarantees a directors cut when the expanded DVD format is released for consumption.)
2001 is continuing to be a year of disaster for the MTV generation. “Crazy/Beautiful” is no exception. This film would better be a horror film instead of a drama. The scary part is that many parents today take more notice of the rating than they do the content. WARNING: PG-13 can be just as or even more offensive then an R-rated film. There almost seems to be a hidden contest awarding the director who can get away with the most in the land of movie ratings.
“Crazy/Beautiful” is the familiar story of “spoiled rich girl” meets “boy from the other side of the tracks”. Nicole (Kirsten Dunst) is the troubled daughter of a congressman. Kirsten continues her path of negative teen roles (“The Virgin Suicides” and “Bring It On”). This is a departure from her beginnings at age 11 when she starred in the moral “Little Women.”
Carlos (Jay Hernandez) is the son of a hard working Mexican-American mother. He is the model student and goes out of his way (traveling 2 hours by bus) to get a better education at this “magnet” school. So the poor Latino teen is trying to make the most of his opportunities and spoiled girl is throwing hers away. He even gets upset when given a detention.
“Crazy/Beautiful” has teens cutting classes and educating the youthful masses that it is OK to smoke pot and bring spiked Gatorade to school. Drugs and alcohol are glorified throughout this appalling movie. Nicole is attracted by this hunk and we all begin to connect the dots. She throws herself at Carlos in a reckless and sexually bold manner. Carlos plays his predictable role of hormones-over-intelligence. After all, he is going to try and help Nicole find her way. It isn’t long before we have the obligatory bedroom scene. Teens undressing and crawling into bed with cutaway shots of partial nudity. Let’s not forget to throw in a steamy shower scene. The dialog between the two is, after all, politically correct. Carlos does insist on using a condom and Nicole reassures him that her father (who is outside by the pool) would be “proud that we are using protection.”
Writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi do try to get us to sympathize with Nicole. Her mother has died and her father and stepmother fuss over their new baby. This plot point is played up with exaggerated maternal coddling.
The dad does take some interest in his daughter’s choice. We do see some racial tension and the dad tries to buy the interest of Carlos by offering him a recommendation into the Naval Academy. The movie fails as a love story and the human tension that can exist between good and self-destructive behavior.
I will continue my warnings with the fact that the film contains 3 F-words. This must be the newly revised limit for the MPAA. It also has several profanities and frequent uses of God’s name in vain. Most of the clothing is risque at best (even though it may be realistic) and many of the youthful activities portrayed are reckless and dangerous.
Parents: it would be crazy to allow your teen to be entertained by the negative and immoral propoganda in this film. wouldn’t it be beautiful if studios would make positive films for a generation that needs sound values and morals? I do agree with one thing Nicole believes: “I wish I wasn’t the child that everybody learned what not to do from.”