With all the hackneyed, gag-inducing Freddie Prinze, Jr.-style teen romances coming out over the last few years, I've become so cynical about the genre that even with an extremely talented actress like Kirsten Dunst in the lead, I went into "crazy/beautiful" with a chip on my shoulder.
Dunst proved her ability to spot the quality teenybopper scripts last year when she made "Bring It On," the only good cheerleader movie I've ever seen. But playing the rebellious daughter of a Los Angeles congressman? A troubled, party-hardy girl who couples with an academically ambitious Latino boy from the wrong side of the tracks? Boy did that sound like it could go south in a hurry.
Well, I should have trusted Dunst. The ambitiously three-dimensional "crazy/beautiful" never panders or preaches, never turns perky or shallow, and -- gasp! -- its plot doesn't depend on some silly sitcom misunderstanding between boyfriend and girlfriend that is resolved in the last reel with a pat reconciliation followed by a soft-focus freeze-frame on their happy faces.
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