Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Another teenage love story? Please!

Despite every shade of stereotype, this works, due to good acting and a script from Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi that avoids patronising sentiment.

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Kirsten Dunst plays Nicole, the archetypal poor-little-rich-girl, and Jay Hernandez is Carlos, a serious-minded student from a poor Mexican family. She wants to have fun to shut out the pain inside. He wants to do well at exams to win a place at the prestigious Navy pilots training school.

He's a nice guy, she's a mixed up kid. Her dad (Bruce Davidson) is a politician, who is so used to glad-handing his constituents he has forgotten how to talk to his daughter. His dad left home before he can remember.

The screen is set for a) class conscious clash, b) racial mix confrontation, c) love conquers all, d) escape to freedom. Director John Stockwell keeps his options open for as long as possible to avoid slotting into an obvious groove. The plot could go every which way, especially when her dad puts pressure on Carlos to stay off Nicole's lawn, indicating that he could be jeopardising his prospects at the Navy academy. Meanwhile, Nicole is acting like a spoilt baby. "I'm 17," she exclaims. "I'm supposed to get out of control."

There have been numerous movies of this type about mixed race relationships - remember Save The Last Dance? This one has good chemistry and a feisty performance from Dunst, who manages to elicit sympathy for Nicole, which, judging by her character, is impressive indeed.

Reviewed on: 20 Sep 2001
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Poor little rich girl falls for serious-minded Mexican student from poor family.
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Director: John Stockwell

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jay Hernandez, Bruce Davidson, Herman Osorio, Miguel Castro

Year: 2001

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

Save The Last Dance