The high school rom-com “Crush” performs like a queer model of a John Hughes film. The quirky outsider pines secretly for the preferred child, the scholars have a zippy manner with phrases that imply a knowledge past their years, and everybody—no matter their standing on the social hierarchy—will get wasted on the form of mansion rager that most likely by no means occurred in your individual youth.
However regardless of the acquainted settings and tropes in director Sammi Cohen’s debut function movie, “Crush” feels refreshingly modern. It is a film about homosexual characters wherein there is no such thing as hiding within the closet, no nervousness over popping out, no worry of condemnation from mother and father or ignorant classmates. These teenagers are right here, they’re queer, get used to it, to borrow a decades-old rallying cry. The matter-of-fact manner they talk about romance within the script from Kirsten King and Casey Rackham is reflective of evolving mores and identities. It simply isn’t that massive of a deal to this technology—or at the least, it shouldn’t be, “Crush” is saying.
And that form of authenticity springs from the truth that so lots of the folks concerned each in entrance of and behind the digicam determine as queer themselves, together with the director, writers, and stars Rowan Blanchard and Auli’i Cravalho. The previous Disney performers assert themselves confidently with extra mature materials whereas nonetheless bringing all that well-honed comedian timing; Blanchard made her title on the TV collection “Girl Meets World,” and Cravalho turned a worldwide phenomenon at 16 because of the star of “Moana.” The 2 have straightforward, sparky chemistry that’s apparent to everybody however their characters, and watching them steadily acknowledge their emotions for one another is, after all, the movie’s pleasure.
However, the highway to that realization is paved with snappy dialogue and playful, well-paced conditions. At its core, it is a thriller just like uncovering who’s actually the scandal-sheet scribe Girl Whistledown on “Bridgerton.” At the very least it’s to the scholar physique of Miller Excessive Faculty, who often arrive for sophistication and discover the lockers, partitions, and toilet stalls tagged with the whimsical, colorful work of an artist who favors wordplay and goes by the title King Pun. You’ll have the ability to determine it fairly simply. That’s not the purpose. The purpose is the finger-pointing and working round that Blanchard’s Paige should do to show she’s not King Pun—though she’s the prime suspect as a proficient artist herself—and keep away from suspension. (Michelle Buteau brings a hilariously deadpan supply to her handful of scenes as the college principal.)
Paige will get assistance from her greatest buddies (Tyler Alvarez and Teala Dunn), who occur to be passionately in love AND working in opposition to one another for pupil physique president. (It’s just a little difficult and never almost as attention-grabbing as the primary story.) However, she additionally drags a few childhood buddies into her quest: queen bee Gabriella (Isabella Ferreira), whom she’s liked from afar because of the fifth grade, and Gabriella’s tomboy twin sister, AJ (Cravalho). Paige fakes her manner onto the monitor group, though hasn’t the slightest shred of athleticism, to seek clues and spend time with Gabriella. However doing so additionally permits her to hang around with AJ and … nicely, you possibly can think about the place it goes from there, with the requisite twists and misunderstandings to function obstacles alongside the best way.
“Crush” is mild however all the time charming, particularly within the wonderful line it walks between snark and sincerity. Megan Mullally finds simply the proper spot in the midst of these two instincts as Paige’s doting however completely inappropriate single mother. She buys Paige glow-in-the-dark dental dams, for instance, but in addition gives her heat, maternal recommendation. Mullally is such a professional and a treasure, she’s in a position to promote the extra excessive parts of her character. Actually, everybody right here is tremendous lovable, so there’s by no means any doubt that every little thing will work out simply wonderful. But when this effortlessly multicultural, sex-positive comedy makes somebody really feel just a little extra comfy about their place on the earth, then it’s crushing it.
Now taking part on Hulu.