Pittsburgh, PA
December 17, 2018
    News           Sports           Lifestyle           Classifieds           About Us
A & E
Tv Listings
The Dining Guide
Travel Getaways
Headlines by E-mail
Home >  A & E >  Movies/Videos Printer-friendly versionE-mail this story

'Crush' tries too hard to be quirky romantic comedy

Friday, April 26, 2002

By Ron Weiskind, Post-Gazette Movie Editor

The first of my many objections to the English movie "Crush" centers on the casting of Andie MacDowell as a love-starved single woman in her early 40s. Andie MacDowell can't find a good man to cherish her? Honey, call me any time.


RATING: R for sexuality and language.

STARRING: Andie MacDowell, Imelda Staunton, Anna Chancellor, Kenny Doughty.


Critic's call:


She portrays Kate, the American-born headmistress of what we colonists would call a private school. She gets together weekly with friends Janine (Imelda Staunton), a police inspector, and Molly (the archly expressive Anna Chancellor), a physician, to drink gin, eat chocolate, smoke cigarettes and swap sad stories about their love lives, or lack thereof.

The other women have been married before. Janine has a teen-age son. Molly, who trolls for rich men, has bitter memories of three ex-husbands she refers to as Mr. Schoolboy, Mr. Gay and Mr. Unspeakable Lying Bastard.

Then Kate comes across a man who seems too wrong to be Mr. Right. Jed (Kenny Doughty) is a former student of hers, 15 years her junior, whom she meets at a funeral, where he is the organist. Almost before she knows it, they are doing the horizontal bop in an adjacent cemetery. Kate can't keep herself from coming back for more.

Janine, as is her wont, worries about Kate. Molly, headstrong and opinionated, decides Kate must be rescued from inevitable hurt and will try anything to make Kate see the folly of her ways. Naturally, she goes too far -- and the movie's flippant tone soon becomes no laughing matter.

"Crush" is the latest in a string of British so-called comedies trying to emulate the success of "The Full Monty" by putting a group of quirky characters into unlikely situations in hopes of formulating the correct blend of humor and poignancy.

Kate, Molly and Janine are far more realistic than such fanciful film folks as the pot-growing country widow in "Saving Grace," the convicts who become expert gardeners in "Greenfingers," the hairdressing contestants in "Blow Dry."

But writer-director John McKay insists on inserting the three women into moments that can happen only in a movie that's trying too hard. Example: Janine leads a squad of armed police who are trying to disarm an apparently demented man firing a rifle into the air. Just as they are about to go into action, an underling hands her a cell phone. It's Kate, inviting her to dinner to meet Jed. Doesn't anyone screen her calls?

The movie's bigger sin is to throw every melodramatic device into the works that McKay can think of, making the film shamelessly manipulative and rendering the humorous moments even more unseemly.

It becomes clear -- to us, anyhow -- that Molly's objections have more to do with envy and bitterness than with any concern for Kate. Of course, if the situation were reversed, no one would be complaining about the man going out with the much younger woman. Janine, who of all people should know better, just goes along with Molly, only to regret it later.

And you just know that the movie will go out of its way to give us its idea of a happy ending. Me, I was just happy to see it end, period.

Search | Contact Us |  Site Map | Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise | Help |  Corrections