By: Garrett Collins
Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Cary Elwes, Jennifer Rubin, Kurtwood Smith, Gwyneth Walsh, and Amber Benson
Ahhh, the 90s. A time of alternative music. Portable CD players. And, the birth of Alicia Silverstone’s career. That’s right. When she wasn’t running around in Aerosmith videos (back when Steven Tyler was known as being the lead singer of a rock & roll band and not the laughing stock of American Idol), she was the hell of Cary Elwes life in The Crush. The film was supposedly based on the real life l experiences of writer/director Alan Shapiro, who was not smart enough to even change the antagonist whom he based the character of Darian’s name. So, all those horrible dubs that say Adrian instead of Darian? Yeah, that’s where that comes from. But, what about the movie itself?
It’s about Elwes’ character of Nick Elliot, who moves into the guest house belonging to the Forresters Things are going ok until he comes to the attention of Adrian, their 14 year old daughter. Seemingly innocent, she rides by him on roller blades & shows off her piano playing skills to him, even occasionally doing a brush up on an article of his, which ends up on his highly critical editor’s favorite articles list. However, after a night at a boat house results in a kiss, the crush Adrian has for Nick intensifies. And, after a budding relationship with his co-worker Amy (Rubin) and even a few warnings from her friend Cheyenne (Benson), Nick decides he has to leave. But, with Adrian threatening everyone from Amy, to Cheyenne, and even his livelihood, Nick comes to the conclusion he better take care of this problem that has spun out of control, and fast.
When I first saw this movie in theaters as a 90s teen that was experiencing everything a teenager goes through at the time, the first 40 minutes or so of this movie was easy to go with. Yes, Silverstone was a crush of mine at the time, Elwes was instantly recognizable from Princess Bride, and I had recognized Rubin from her Nightmare on Elm Street 3 turn as Taryn. The film actually had a nice flow to it and as a budding writer myself, I was going along with Elwes’ ‘aw, shucks’ attitude (what about those early computers, huh?). However, even as the vulnerable to any sort of story that involves a pretty girl kid that I was, I knew that the last 30 minutes or so of this movie was absolutely ridiculous. It seems that once Shapiro got past the real life experiences of his life (the girl he supposedly based this film on sued him and the producers for slander), he turned it into an almost slasher/psycho girl story that really went nowhere until the finale. His supporting cast wasn’t too bad, but they weren’t that good either. Benson, who would make waves six years later in Buffy The Vampire Slayer as the center of Willow’s heart Tara, was pretty decent here, and actually has the best line of the movie (“break both of them”). Rubin, who never really had any range (which explains why she has been completely absent from films as of late) is just kind of there, and Elwes shows why he would eventually become the butt of every slasher film fan’s joke during his climactic scenes in Saw, as he really does not become that endearing of a lead protagonist. But, Silverstone definitely shows some spark (she would win two MTV Awards as a result of this performance. Yes, I paid attention to those things back then).
I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see The Crush. The acting, with the exception of Benson and, possibly Silverstone, borders on silly, and Shapiro’s writing & directing skills show why he has been regulated to TV movies in recent years. But, if it is on cable one night (which it seems is every night as of late), it makes for semi-enjoyable new age Lolita fare. If only to remember Silverstone when she was the apple of every boy’s eye. Come on, admit it. You wished she was flipping YOU off at the end of that Aerosmith video.
2 out of 5