Nicole (Kirsten Dunst) is a bad girl who indulges in sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. We know this, not because of uncompromising scenes hacked out to get the lucrative PG-13 certificate in America but because she has dirty hair, never wears a bra, and ricochets from giddy delirium to sullen contemplation in the blink of an eye. She's the daughter of a rich LA congressman (Bruce Davison) and from the looks of her pharmaceutical supply, is dealing with chemical imbalances as well as general teenage recklessness. Not ideal girlfriend material for straight-A football star Carlos (Hernandez), a Hispanic boy who sits on a bus for two hours every day just to attend the privileged school Nicole takes for granted. But soon Nicole's magnetic self-destruction is making waves in Carlos' conscientious life .
Though not the most original premise, "Crazy/Beautiful" shines with solid performances from Davison (imbibing sensitivity and pain into what could have been your standard heavy-handed father role) and newcomer Jay Hernandez whose smile alone lights up the screen. But it is Dunst, bravely looking her worst, who enigmatically drives the film. As in "The Virgin Suicides", her intelligent, complex performance makes Nicole a charming, frustrating, pathetic, and ballsy protagonist worthy of screen time. Her centrifugal desperation to be rescued by Carlos from the parental demons that drive her shift the focus from racial issues to a compelling quest for salvation through love. And while it shows scars of editing, there is evidence of an even more interesting film here had the distributors been brave enough to go for an older audience.