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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for mature thematic material involving teens, drug/alcohol content, sexuality and language

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
June 29, 2001
Relevant Issues
Jay Hernandez and Kirsten Dunst in crazy/beautiful
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Featuring: Kirsten Dunst, Jay Hernandez, Lucinda Jenney, Taryn Manning, Bruce Davison
Director: John Stockwell
Producer: Harry Ufland, Mary Jane Ufland, Rachel Pfeffer
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures

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.”

Viewer Comments
This movie is a depiction of all the things that are REALLY happening in the US homes and high schools every day. Teens get drunk, make out, and get their condoms from cupboards in the kitchen every day. Rather than being offended, I was surprised that a fairly realistic movie about teens was finally released. Instead of being too offended to watch, parents should take a moment to wonder if their children are behaving this way, and to figure out what the need to do to help them.
Gabriel, age 21, non-Christian
The movie is certainly not worth the cash you spend at the theater… I found it boring for the vast majority of the time as the movie seemed to sit stagnant, with no clear direction until the end. The messages delivered are clearly societal driven and pertain to nothing supportive of Christian values, as explained above. This isn’t even worth watching on video.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2]
Street, age 18
I became a Christian a month ago. Nicole’s life in “Crazy Beautiful” was a fraction of what my life was like. Believe it or not most of the stuff in the movie is reality—we DO live in a broken world. In your review, you did not mention the changes that took place in Nicole and her father. How her dad changed in five minutes by standing up to his wife and listening to Nicole offers hope. He accomplished what I fear will take my father a lifetime. I believe your reviews would reach others more effectively if they told both sides of the story. Check out both sides of my story at
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
Alison, age 18
I thought this film was quite a let down. I love Kirsten Dunst but this movie was totally uninspired even with her starring in it. When one character is faced with a tough decision a girl says jokingly, “What would Jesus do?” This made me mad because of the way she acted when she said it. She was very disrespectful about it. A couple get drunk, start making out, and then are shown in a bedroom undressing each other. As a joke the girl then walks out in front of the housekeeper in her bra and undies and gets a condom and then returns to the bedroom. When they are about ready to make love they hear the boys family outside playing and despite the girls pleading the boy refuses to continue until a more convenient time. They do have intercourse later in a rather graphic scene. They also shower together, and while there is no nudity the point in delivered that they are naked. Girls often dance and parade around half naked also. There was also some inappropriate language including one f-word. There is quite a bit of underage drinking and drug use also. They also go to the bathroom in an alley in public. This film definitely brings across a negative message to teens. And while it was crazy this film was definitely not beautiful!
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2]
K.E., age teen
Movie Critics
…includes very strong language, drug use and drinking by teenagers, driving under the influence, sexual references and situations…
Nell Minow, The Movie Mom
…While the writing may be a little too self-indulgent with its message-laden speeches, crazy/beautiful is pretty brave in the subjects it takes on…
Annette Cardwell,
…sexually related dialogue is present, while two high school students have a sexual relationship… partial views of several of their encounters…