Andie MacDowell is now running neck-and-neck with Kim Basinger for their string of recent over-emotional stinkers (Basinger was in I Dreamed of Africa and Bless the Child). MacDowell (Harrison's Flowers, Town & Country) seems perfectly at home here in Crush, a movie that seems perfectly at home on the Lifetime Channel. Written and directed by John McKay (Wet and Dry, Doom and Gloom), Crush shows that men can write annoying, women-centered pictures just as bad as some women can. It's never clear what Crush is exactly about, since it veers from one story and theme to another. It starts as an ensemble piece about three older (but still young) single women, then turns into an older woman/younger man romance, then blossoms fully into a cheesy melodramatic weepy.

MacDowell is Kate, headmistress at a private school. She is lonely and looking for a man. Molly (Anna Chancellor, Heart, The Man Who Knew Too Little) is a doctor. She is thrice divorced, lonely and horny and looking for a man. Janine (Imelda Staunton, Rat, Chicken Run) is a divorced policewoman. She is lonely and looking for a man. Once a week, these three friends get together to drink, eat, and tell each other about their failed dates. Until Kate meets Jed (Kenny Doughty, All Forgotten, Titus), the young organist at the local church. It turns out that years ago, she taught him how to play the piano. Now, she is, uh, playing his organ, so to say. The script does say it, and often. Kate keeps her relationship with Jed from Molly and Janine.

She doesn't tell anybody because she knows they will not approve. In a way, she herself does not really approve of it either. This is a relationship based solely on lust and loneliness. When Kate and Jed are not making out, habits like kicking a ball on the wall or slurping his soup annoy the heck out of her. The way that McKay has her fall completely in love with him is a little far-fetched, so in a sense, the audience does not approve either. None of the actresses are particularly good, not because of their acting ability, but because of the script. There are many standard bonding moments, some angry moments, and some sobbing moments, none of which require much afterthought. This isn't the way that women really act away from men, this is the way that movie women act because men think they act this way. There is some humor in this movie that stands out, only because the rest of the dialogue is so dull. Whether he intends to or not, the title Crush takes on added significance, because it is how one feels after watching it.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 52 minutes, Rated R for sexuality and language.

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