201-Words-or-Less Film Review Home


This film bites off more social issues than it can chew and ultimately defaults to formula. See it, though, for the standout performances. Rating: 7 out of 10.

201-Words-or-Less Film Review

Director John Stockwell tries to take this story in many directions. Kirsten Dunst shines as Nicole, the hellcat of a neglected congressman's daughter. Jay Hernandez more than holds his own as Carlos, the guy from the wrong side of the tracks who is busting his hump to get into Annapolis. Naturally, they fall in love, and the outcome is never really in doubt after that.

Along the way, however, we are treated to nice visual texture, great supporting cast (many in their first film roles), and a nice soundtrack. And it's hard to be too rough on a movie for taking on more serious issues than it can deal with in a 95-minute run often movies targeted at teen audiences are devoid of any real content. Not so here.

Dunst courageously dives into all aspects of her character, including the unattractive and downright scary sides. The most effective scene is one with her gazing into a mirror and wordlessly internalizing the disgust that Carlos' family and friends feel for her. Never mind that in the end the issues of his community's expectations of him (and opinions of her) are brushed aside. This movie is worth watching.

Word count: 197

Copyright 2002 by Toby Baldwin

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Year: 2001
Director: John Stockwell
Writers: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
Running time: 95 minutes (they should have added to that in order to resolve some character issues better)
Rating: PG-13 for "mature thematic material involving teens, drug/alcohol content, sexuality & language."

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