Crush

"Very Good"

Crush Review


While Andie MacDowell has spent much of the last few years in little-seen bombs like Just the Ticket, Reaching Normal, and the now-legendary Town & Country, she seems poised to re-emerge as a hot ticket in spring 2002. Perhaps not a huge, hot-selling ticket, but an actress whose skills and range will reach a larger audience than the ones provided by those previous duds. With Harrison's Flowers and the comedy-drama Crush, a primarily alterna-theater crowd will get to enjoy the woman they first met in sex, lies, and videotape - and in Crush, they'll get to see plenty more of the sex and the lies.

Brit John McKay's debut feature, based on his play, is a real girl's club, U.K. style. MacDowell plays Kate, an American living in an idyllic British country home, working as headmistress at a stuffy-looking school. Molly (Rachel Ward look-alike Anna Chancellor, from TV's Longitude) is a tough, sexy doctor, and Janine (Imelda Staunton of Rat and Chicken Run) is a sympathetic divorced Mom and a top police inspector. The three women, all single and in their early forties, stick together like bonding glue.

But instead of the pat, "Girlfriend!" BS sessions offered in countless American movies (The First Wives Club, Waiting to Exhale), we see the trio taking classes together, doing their jobs competently and with a nice snap of humor, and living their social lives separately as well. Sure, there's a regular rap get-together, but it's got a cute add-on: Each woman tells the most pathetic man-related story of her week, with the winner getting a box of caramel chocolate bars. The mini-competition lets McKay create an amusing set of flashbacks - short stories to portray the ladies' woeful ways. They tell their tales, then drown their sorrows in gin.

Things change when Kate meets Jed (Kenny Doughty, Titus) a young stud playing the organ (here come the genitalia jokes - they're a little too much here) at the local church. A single sexual tryst becomes a few more, then a bunch in public places... and then, possibly, love? The other ladies are skeptical, especially since Kate was Jed's teacher ten years prior, and they clearly carry bits of jealousy, resentment, and overprotection.

McKay's script is breezy yet comprehensive when it comes to Kate. It gives MacDowell the opportunity to infuse her sexuality with the wide-eyed naiveté that comes with falling in love. She simply glows in many scenes, and when confronted with her own confusion, she confidently portrays a mature woman who knows what she wants, but doesn't know if she's getting it the right way. Her strong combination of assuredness, weakness, and sensuality is enjoyable to watch, as are her comedic contributions.

But all the variety that McKay provides his lead actress becomes a detriment to the film later, when the plot points seem a bit pushy and overdramatic. They may work well within another film, but Crush is too light to be nailing us with sudden danger or tragedy. The annoyingly overdone music by Nick Raine is no help.

The total experience, however, is a welcome exploration of slightly older women and the events that make them tick. McKay makes his mistakes, but churns out a funny, occasionally complex character study with the British feel of a Four Weddings and a Funeral. And Andie MacDowell struts her stuff in a movie that should do more than her last few: Put people in a movie theater and actually entertain them.

Crush with eyeliner.



Crush

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th June 2002

Production compaines: Intrepid Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Jules, as Mike Norris, as Scott, as Bess

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