At a time when 99 per cent of British films don’t seem to have a clue who they’re aimed at – or, indeed, the slightest inkling of what makes a movie commercially viable – Crush at least has a target demographic. Like the hugely popular Bridget Jones’s Diary, this is a slick, amusing chick flick that obsesses over relationships, though its primary audience is women who have slipped, squirming and maybe even screaming, into middle age.
That said, Brit writer/director John McKay’s feature debut pulls off the canny, Bridget-ish trick of being good enough, funny enough and universal enough to welcome all comers. Are you a 24-year-old bloke who thinks the menopause refers to construction workers taking their afternoon tea break? No problem – as long as you’ve ever experienced the highs, lows and soul-crushing when-am-I-ever-gonna-get-laids? of love, you’ll find something to latch onto here.
McKay is also shrewd enough to imagine wide-eyed viewers beyond these isles, and undoubtedly went into Crush with half an eye on America. The setting is a beautiful, stereotypically English village in the heart of the Cotswolds, all dusty brickwork and rolling meadows, while the lead and emotional centre of the movie is, of course, Andie MacDowell, her familiar visage and Four Weddings baggage providing an inviting hook. Plus her young beau (the handsome, charismatic Kenny Doughty) is the idealised British male, a smooth charmer in the tradition of the two Grants – Cary and Hugh.
Where McKay does get it wrong, however, is in the final third, where he takes a wrong turn so drastic that he never manages to get back on track. To say more would be to give too much away, but suffice to say he should have stuck to the zingy one-liners, resplendent landscapes and fine comic interplay between the Sad Fuckers.