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CRUSH (2022)

Movie Review

Release Date: 04/29/22
Genre: Comedy/Romance

Studio: HULU


"An aspiring young artist joins her high school track team and later discovers what real love feels like when she finds herself falling for an unexpected teammate."


Sammi Cohen’s directorial debut Crush is a LGBTQ+ love story that’s a rather transparent plot we’ve seen time and time again (only the sexual orientations are reversed). Nonetheless the story is hilarious, heartwarming, and predictable but most of all incredibly cute. 


Scribes Kirsten King and Casey Rackham are behind Hulu’s Crush and it’s quickly made clear that they themselves are fans of the romantic-comedy genre but wanted to give it a little push into the modern age. RomComs are one of my many weaknesses. Here we have a by-the-numbers teenage romance; a story where you can predict the final moments from the start, but to its advantage the predictability is comforting. The writing duo’s freshman efforts definitely shows in some of the plot’s immaturity and staggered pacing yet around these faults is a smile-inducing story of someone finding their happiest moment. 


The largest disadvantage the film has is its choice in  lead: Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World, The Goldbergs). Her portrayal of her character Paige appears disingenuous. This attitude is reflected throughout the feature, with a tone that can’t always figure itself out - our lead is whacky, our supporting best friends are whacky, our love interest is genuine but sometimes whacky. The silliness of some of these characters, while truly making me laugh, seems to downplay the sincere nature of this queer narrative. Crush does trudge some heart throughout it’s 93 minute runtime and those moments are captivating, but even so the movie as a whole is lacking an emotional drive for these characters. If they were to fall in love - would it matter? 


Auli'i Cravalho (Moana), Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), Aasif Mandvi (It’s Kind of a Funny Story), Teala Dunn (AwesomenessTV), and Tyler Alvarez (Never Have I Ever) really carry the film on their backs with a level of improvisation, heart, sincerity and humor. We have a fantastic chemistry present between all of the cast and they all seem like friends with a genuine connection. Without Mullally’s mother figure the film would be lacking a sense of humor - it’d be full of whacky shenanigans, but its sharp wit would be missing. Mullally and Mandvi have a hilarious revolving flirtation with one another that comes to a head near the end of the film with little resolve. 


Hulu's Crush isn’t a film I was thinking I’d enjoy. I figured it’d go the Netflix romcom route and make a cheap film with some lackluster characters, terrible plotting and a romance that is all the hype on social media just for people to critique. Crush may never be able to come close to the height achieved by films like Moonlight, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, or Love, Simon; however the end result, while predictable, is an endearing romance that should inspire more filmmakers to pursue a traditional story from the eyes of a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

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