The Crush

Let’s dumpster dive for semen
★★
☆☆☆
Released: 
1993
Director: 
Alan Shapiro
Starring: 
Alicia Silverstone, Cary Elwes, Jennifer Rubin, Amber Benson
The Setup: 
Guy is besieged by the sexual advances of this hot 14-year-old girl.
Discussion: 

So having watched The Temp just before my vacation, I was all keen on the whole streak of movies where someone comes across a psycho who stalks them [also known as _____-from-hell movies]. But I just wanted to watch the most terrible, low-rent ones available, so obviously The Crush was next on my list. It came while I was away, and I must say I was QUITE looking forward to watching it on my very first night back in my apartment, while all tired and jet-lagged and ready to accept anything.

So Alicia Silverstone, who rose to fame as some chick dancing in some Aerosmith video [and how disturbing is it that the lusted-after chick in some video by a band in their 50s is 15 years old?], graces the silver screen in this, her first movie role. There is this kind of horrible cheesy 90s dance music over the DVD menu, and not even a trailer for this movie, although plenty for other movies.

So anyway, the movie starts with Cary Elwes as Nick crossing a bridge into some city, I think Vancouver. Maybe we should make a list of the many movies that begin with someone crossing a bridge, then a pan over to the city they’re heading into. In fact, for a while here, I was thinking you could play a game of “guess what’s going to happen next from the change of camera angle,” because the direction here is not exactly what you’d call original and inspired. Anyway, Nick is moving to this nameless new city for some reason that is never divulged, to do some work we never get much insight into. During this time we have the credits, where I was delighted to note the presence of Amber Benson, Willow’s girlfriend Tara from Buffy, and we hear this hideous / fabulous song “Hard To Get,” as performed by STARCLUB. In the pantheon of absolutely generic minor band names, you have to admit that "Starclub" ranks fairly high. I was prepared to guess that they didn’t really exist outside of this movie, but they actually did have one album.

So Nick looks at one terrible apartment, which means we know that the next one he sees will be absolutely perfect. He’s on his way there when he almost hits Adrienne, that’s Alicia, with his car. They share a Kubrick Lolita-inspired moment when he sees her for the first time and is quite transfixed. She lowers her glasses and skates off while the camera admires her pubescent form in her tiny jean shorts. Of course the apartment Nick is going to look at is over the garage of Adrienne’s house, another reference to Lolita, though this is where they stop. I was hoping that the movie would follow through with its Lolita form, having Nick seduce Adrienne’s mother in order to get closer to the girl, but here’s where these references are abruptly dropped. Of course Nick takes the apartment [having seen it only from the outside], but he needn’t worry, it is ridiculously fabulous inside, just like all movie apartments.

So them Amber, very young and cute as a button, shows up as Cheyenne, Adrienne’s friend, but doesn’t have much to do, now or ever. Then Nick goes to his new job and meets Amy, who may as well be wearing a name tag that says “Hi, my name is LOVE INTEREST.” They have some non-witty repartee and then she turns and quite ostentatiously takes a bite out of an apple, and I’m like “Okay, so this film is making a fairly explicit Adam-and-Eve, fruit of temptation reference, but where is this going to go? Is Amy supposed to be evil or something?” But I’ll tell you where it’s all going: nowhere. It’s just carelessness. Amy is a photographer and Nick is supposedly a journalist, and wouldn’t you know, they’re assigned to work together!

Then begins a series of scenes in which Adrienne keeps coming over and visiting Nick. Maybe the title of this thing should be THE LOITERER. She makes all sorts of outrageous come-ons and is incredibly provocative. One thing you notice right away is the shoehorned-in pop soundtrack, which prevents this movie from achieving the seriousness with which it could potentially have been taken, as the whole situation with Adrienne and her parents [more on them soon] is genuinely creepy. But for the most part what we have is a GREAT deal of fairly obscene leering at a 15-year-old playing a 14-year-old [on the part of both our adult male protagonist and us, the audience], which makes one distinctly uncomfortable, and also the whole male fantasy the movie embodies that this hot 14-year-old girl is desperately coming on to you, which also makes one uncomfortable. Research on the rate with which this film appears on the Netflix queues of frustrated sex offenders is as yet unavailable.

But there is a kernel of the interesting to this movie. Because Adrienne isn’t just a run-of-the-mill psycho, she’s a twisted genius. We see that she plays piano like a prodigy, and seems to know pretty much everything about everything. She tells Nick that she’s so smart that the other kids found her really strange and she has no friends. Then we begin to have hints that he parents keep her in a somewhat infantilized state—Nick sneaks into their house at one point and goes into Adrienne’s room, which is all Holly Hobbie-type straw hats with ribbons and white wicker. We also see that dad has built her a full and detailed merry-go-round in the attic of the house [and canny viewers say ‘aha, so we know where the climax is going to take place’]. Then there’s a scene in which the father says of guys who come on to Adrienne: “If a guy is standing there with a hard-on sticking out of his pants—hope I don’t come and break it off! HAHAHAHAHA!!” He punctuates this sentence with an evocative SNIP with the tool he is holding. Okay, so Adrienne’s parents are nuts and they both raise her as a total prodigy, but treat her as an innocent child and pile ostentatious but childish gifts upon her. So she rebels in part by making outrageous come-ons to older men, which draw the threat of violence against the men by her father. Okay, that’s pretty interesting. Unfortunately all that is shoehorned into a Fatal-Attraction-for-dirty-old-men structure, so the interesting stuff is not followed through on. Word on the IMDb is that the writer-director of this based this movie on an experience that happened to him. In fact, he used the real name of the girl in question in the movie [idiot!], forcing them to go back and dub the name ‘Adrienne’ over ‘Darien’ throughout after the girl sued.

Anyway, so then Amy comes on over to some sort of picnic and they all decide to roast marshmallows, and she’s sent to gather sticks. She does, finding a remarkable number of absolutely straight sticks [the staged gathering of carefully pre-placed wood is turning into a somewhat common scene, see The Butterfly Effect 2] when Adrienne shows up to impress / threaten her with her advanced knowledge of wasps. Amy looks spooked and is clearly threatened by the wasps, and thus foreshadowing is achieved.

So finally Nick tells Adrienne that she’s too young for him and that she out to stay away from him. This does not sit well. So soon “cocksucker” is scratched on his car, and the tapes and evidence of his big interview are gone. It’s a little hilarious, because at one point Nick’s boss asks for a report, and he realizes he doesn’t have it, so he makes the excuse that he’s going to just run home and get it. He goes home, and rewrites the entire thing in less than an hour. He’s pretty efficient, that Nick. Then Cheyenne [that’s Amber] shows up and says that Adrienne is really weird and that the last guy she had a crush on is dead now. During this time, you’re like; “Shouldn’t he be looking for another apartment or something?”

SPOILERS > > >
So all of a sudden Amy from work lays her love for Nick on the line. Then the point of view of the movie breaks and we follow Amy for a while. First she and Adrienne exchange some intense bitchery out by the SUV, then Amy goes back to her photo lab to develop some pics [one somewhat inexplicably of Adrienne], but who should lurk outside but Adrienne, who closes up all the vents and shakes a bag full o’ bees into the vents, attacking Amy. Now, even though we had foreshadowing about wasps, and a later reference will identify Amy’s attackers as wasps, they are quite clearly bees. And how, exactly, does Adrienne come upon a plastic bag full of bees? Apparently she donned a white beekeeper’s outfit, downed the hive, and placed part of it in this plastic bag? She is pretty capable for a 14-year-old. Or do they sell bees in bulk? Like you just scoop as many as you want into a plastic bag and then you weigh them? Regardless, tragically, Amy lives. Oh, and watch for the quickie homage to Psycho when we have a shot of the curtain popping off its hangars.

So after a slight embarrassment at a work function, Adrienne claims sexual assault and Nick is arrested. Nick is arrested by a FUCKING HOT COP played by Paul Bittante [below], who is supposedly a real Vancouver cop. As they’re interrogating Nick, they tell him that they “found semen inside her” that matches his blood type. Two things: one, does semen map to blood type? And two: Ewww! Isn’t it a little bit in bad taste to be talking about a fourteen-year-old girl sticking semen up her shaboozle? There is speculation that Adrienne procured said semen by rooting through Nick’s garbage and finding a used condom [not that we’ve seen any evidence of Nick having a sex life] and making like she’s the Thanksgiving bird. I don’t know… when I do it, somehow it’s not gross. When we’re talking about a fourteen-year-old girl doing it, it’s gross.

So then Amber shows up again to warn Nick, saying “Adrienne knows stuff other kids don’t know” [and I’m like: “Yeah, I’ll say!”] and says she’s going to break into the house to find Adrienne’s diary, to which Nick is like; “Okay, YOU go.” When she doesn’t return, Nick goes in after her, ending up in the attic with the merry-go-round [and I’m like: “TOLD ya!”], where he finds Amber all tied up, but unharmed. Then, since it’s time for the end of the movie, Adrienne goes all apeshit and starts beating on Nick with a bat of some kind. Then we see her father frantically trying to get in downstairs, although where they were and why they suddenly possessed to get into the house is never explained. Dad finally gets in and runs upstairs, whereupon Adrienne attacks him with the bat for some reason [important to establish that her parents will finally acknowledge that she’s nutso and back Nick against her, dropping the sexual abuse charges]. Then Nick just grabs the bat and punches Adrienne, which knocks her clear across the room [you’ll see] to land unconscious in a conveniently-placed pile of rags. The end.
< < < SPOILERS END

It was trashy fun. I was thinking that this was about even with The Temp in terms of evil, stupid fun, but in writing this I realize that The Temp is a little better. Among the problems here—aside from that the whole thing is a giant, glistening wet turd—is that since our evil heroine is only fourteen, she doesn’t really do all that much that’s very evil. Okay, the bag o’ bees was cool [though it didn’t actually kill Amy, nor did we get to see her swollen face pocked with boils], but that’s IT?!? Other than that it’s just a bunch of mild harassment? Lost files and suchlike? Come on, you’re going to have to do better. I thought that with our psycho being fourteen we might get a bunch of really juvenile but evil pranks, but nothing. Hello, The Temp has a gory hand-mangling by office shredder and broken glass in sample cookies given out at the supermarket! Then there’s the whole skeeviness of leering at this fourteen-year-old and all the other stuff already mentioned, in addition to the fact that by the end it seemed like whole sections were missing [i.e. where the parents were and why they rushed home], and the climax was just a big let-down. But overall it was amusing enough. Though undeniably stupid as fuck.

Also on this disc are a number of trailers [NOT one for The Crush, though] of variable interest. The Ace Ventura trailer contains glimpses of perhaps the most legendary Random Movie Hunk of all time [above], the guy who clobbers Ace after being snapped with a towel in the shower. That’s great, because there’s no fucking way I’m sitting through that movie. Then there’s the trailer for Chill Factor, which I had actually started generating some interest in watching, thankfully completely cured by viewing this trailer. Then the Sharon Stone Diabolique, which I am FUCKING HOT to see now! I saw the original about a year or two ago, and though I know I should watch it again to see the new one… ugh, I just don’t feel like it. Lastly, the trailer for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves makes it look utterly hilarious, especially with Kevin’s giant 90s bouff-hair. Whew! Another batch of shit I won’t have to sit through.

Should you watch it: 

It’s mildly amusing.