Crash is a film that tries so hard to ooze drama. Characters go off on dramatic monologues. A little girl is almost shot in sloooooowwwwwwww mooooooooootioooooonnnnnnn. Sandra Bullock falls down about three steps and just lies there for about two minutes until you FEEL HER PAIN.
And all of this happens in less than two days.
This kind of heightened drama is what is known as melodrama. Melodrama is defined as "drama in which many exciting events happen and the characters have very strong or exaggerated emotions" (source). It's a term that is generally applied to soap operas or teen shows like Pretty Little Liars, but less often to Academy Award-winning films.
But there's a point to the melodrama in Crash. The film shows how in a short span of time, multiple interlocking lives start to implode. All the civilized veneer of living in a modern metropolis? Gone. All that hidden racism and rage? Very much present. It's like everyone's on edge, all the time, and when one person goes off, it starts a chain reaction.