There certainly are a lot of people who hate Andie MacDowell,
and theyíre not limited by age, sex, or race. I donít even
think thereís a class factor, though I didnít research that
thoroughly. Why do I bring this up? Because anybody who already
hates MacDowell will use Crush to justify that hatred.
And those of us who are ambivalent, or, heaven forbid, actually
like MacDowell in some of her roles, will have the opportunity
judge Crush on its own merits.
With that said, this first feature by writer-director John
McKay doesnít have a lot of merits to stand on, and therefore,
the fault lies directly with him. The acting isnít bad. MacDowell,
Staunton, and Chancellor all do a fine job convincing
us that they have become bitter middle-aged women whose only
joy comes from having the most pathetic man story of the week.
Ok, so I hated Chancellorís Molly from the first frame, but
I have to believe she was directed to be that bitchy and merely
did an excellent job at it. Even Doughty does a fine
job as Jed, the younger man and skilled organist MacDowellís
headmistress Kate scandalously becomes involved with.
So, whatís the problem? Plot, plot, plot. Clearly, this is
meant to be a tearjerker for women over 35, possibly well
over 35. As a male under 35, Iím definitely not the target
audience here, but come on! I actually kind of enjoyed the
first half of this movie. Not my normal cup of tea, but it
was cute, and seeing normal, middle-aged women depicted as
desirable and those who enjoy sex was a breath of fresh air.
Then, tragedy strikes. Yes, thereís a tragedy in the storyline,
but the greater tragedy is the first thing I learned from
watching this movie: Even on a deserted English country road,
you canít hear a large truck coming with a broken heart.
If it sounds funny and ridiculous, it is, and the whole movie
goes downhill from there. I practically vibrated from the
amount of heartstring plucking going on. Then, the carefully
constructed conservatism of this small English town gets turned
on its head, and the dire consequences trumpeted for half
the film are completely ignored in the resulting love-in that
reconciles everyone left alive. Sadly, that doesnít even give
away the plot, since everyone knows what must happen for Crush
to have the proper sappy emotional payoff.
If you like MacDowell and fall into the target audience,
I canít say you wonít enjoy this movie. Several members of
the preview audience seemed to, all of them in the over-40
set. Otherwise, wait a decade or two for the right combination
of bitterness, wisdom, and hormones to make this a film-watching
experience you can stomach.