The first time Latino student Carlos Nuñez (Hernandez) hangs with troubled rich girl Nicole Oakley (Dunst) and her directionless friends, he gets a detention. He's not amused: it takes two hours on the bus from his home in East LA to the Pacific Palisades school they both attend. Nevertheless the relationship blossoms into a reckless, exquisitely teenage romance. Nicole's stepmom and Congressman father don't care what she does. But Carlos' family are furious. What's he doing, throwing away hard-won opportunities - and over a white girl? When even Mr Oakley (Davison) advises caution, on the ground that Nicole will drag him off the rails after her, Carlos wonders if his dream of becoming a USAF pilot isn't more important. Affectingly directed, this takes every cliché in the teen-rom-dram book - and squeezes some life out of them. All credit to the leads, especially Dunst, whose raw, egoless performance betokens great things. The ending, of course, is a cornball cop-out, but otherwise, for a Hollywood genre movie this feels wonderfully real.
Cast and crew
Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Kirsten Dunst Jay Hernandez Lucinda Jenney Taryn Manning Rolando Molina Bruce Davison Hernan Osorio Miguel Castro