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Three intelligent, successful and single fortysomething women seem to have it all, but lament over the lack of love and romance in their lives.


In Crush, we are introduced to three highly successful single women. There is Kate (Andie MacDowell), an attractive headmistress at a private school, Molly (Anna Chancellor) a sexy, prominent physician, and finally Janine (Imelda Staunton), a single mom and police inspector. The three women are best friends who get together once a week and do what the majority of single women out there do: bitch about their non-existing love lives. They eat chocolate, drink gin, smoke cigarettes and compare dating disasters, with a prize going to whomever has the most pathetic story. Although it seems like they are basking in their own misery, the three maintain a sense of humor about their situations and have formed a really strong bond over the years. But that bond is affected when Kate embarks in an affair with a much younger man--a former student of hers, Jed (played by Kenny Doughty). Molly enlists Janine's help in breaking up the affair, fearing Kate is simply setting herself up for major heartbreak. Molly, however, seems to be acting out of jealousy rather than concern for Kate and the effects of her actions change their lives and friendship forever.


Andie MacDowell, whom I found thoroughly annoying in Harrison's Flowers, found a role that is completely suited for her in Kate. Although the story unfolds in rural England, director John McKay (Wet and Dry) opted to have MacDowell play an American, therefore retaining her Southern drawl. Dressed in linen dresses and crisp white shirts, MacDowell plays the role of repressed headmistress perfectly, down to her closet chain-smoking habit. Anna Chancellor (The Man Who Knew Too Little) seems a little too slick for the serious doctor role (it's hard to believe someone working as a health professional would smoke and drink that much), but she pulls it off nonetheless. Imelda Staunton (Another Life) fits into the role of police chief Janine like a glove. She may be the least glamorous of the three, but she's also the most sincere and down-to-earth, traits well suited to her profession. Kenny Doughty (Titus) rounds out the cast as Kate's intriguing young lover Jed. Young, scruffy and a little edgy, Doughty is a perfect match for MacDowell's prim character.


Crush focuses on the relationships of three women who, despite working in completely different fields and having lived unique life experiences (one has never been married, one has had several divorces and another is a single mom), have formed a deep friendship that crosses different boundaries. What makes it work is the chemistry that MacDowell, Chancellor and Staunton have on screen. The chemistry between MacDowell and Doughty also spices up the story. The age difference between them is dealt with in a realistic manner, not over-idealized. Kate, for example, is concerned about what others think of her relationship and whether or not Jed will fit into her circle of friends. Although a romantic love story is at the core of this film, it rarely gets schmaltzy (except for the dramatic climax) thanks to some hilarious scenes in which the women recount some of their dating disasters.

Bottom Line

Since this film focuses on three women often bashing men and lamenting about their love lives, it will probably be labeled a ''chick flick.'' But even if you are not a big fan of the genre, Crush may be worth the while, especially for those who remember their own bad dates all too well.