crazy/beautiful (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I'm sort of ticked off about this DVD. Here's why.

This film was made to appeal to the under-17 female audience. In order to market it successfully, the filmmakers had to produce a product rated PG-13. So they re-submitted the film to the MPAA five times before they got one. The first submission resulted in an R, so they'd snip out as little as possible, re-submit, repeat  as necessary. 


None, but VERY close. See commentary. Ms. Dunst spent the entire movie braless, much of it with the bottom half of her breasts exposed (albeit no nipples)
 OK, I understand the theory. There is no sense in making a film for 14 year olds if they can't go to it.

By the way, it wasn't extraordinarily successful. Despite earning the coveted PG-13, the film grossed only $17 million.

But here's my gripe. A r rating had to be avoided for a theatrical release, but why don't we get to see the entire story of this battle on the DVD. If I were producing this film, I would want the director to show the history "first the scenes looked like this ...  then we got an r, so we trimmed them to look like this ... then we still got an r and ...". That demonstration of the MPAA's mindset would be more interesting than the movie. There are some deleted scenes, but not the controversial ones.

How good is the film? 

Not very. But it isn't bad.

Again, remember the target audience. This is a movie which specifically intended to tap into the wallets of 14 year old girls. My daughter is 15, and it is now her favorite movie. Females under 18 rate it an astronomical 8.2 at IMDb. Will you like it? Do you have the taste of a 15 year old girl? Ask yourself these questions.

  • Any pictures of the Backstreet Boys or Ricky Martin on the walls of your bedroom?

  • Is your favorite painting one of those ballet dancer things by Degas or one of those lavender flower things by Monet?

  • Do you enjoy a minimum of eight hours per day of MTV?

If your answer to any of those is no, then this may not be your film. The film style is pure "music video" all the way. The script is basically an ABC After School Special, as filmed by Zalman King for MTV, and edited for prime time network television. The kid from the barrio is the straight-A, Annapolis-bound student-athlete. (Think Mother Theresa, with Bo Jackson's athletic ability, Pierce Brosnan's looks, Steven Hawking's mind, and Patrick Henry's patriotism). The rich white girl is the sloppy-looking party-hearty druggie. (Think Courtney Love) . They grow together, apart, together again. People get mad at each other, but it all ends in a giant agape of forgiveness

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • Full-length director commentary, with Kirsten Dunst.

  • deleted scenes

  • "Making-of" documentary

On the other hand, it isn't such a bad film. Let me state some positives:

  • The teenage lovers, played by Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez, were quite credible. The script wasn't always sensible, but they both did great.

  • The script was willing to mess a little with the usual clichés. The white girl's father does tell the Mexican boy to stay away from his daughter, but not for the usual reasons. It's because "you're a good kid, and she'll screw you up". 


The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Apollo 78/100, Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 2/4, BBC 2/5. Some polarization.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 58% positive reviews.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.5, but females under 18 score it 8.2. 
  • With their dollars ... it wasn't a smash, hit, but it took in $17 million domestic on a $14 million budget. It was marketed as a niche film and never reached as many as 1700 theaters. (Blockbusters are in twice that many)
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C. Watchable teenage soap opera with good performances and strong appeal to adolescent females.

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