Review by Sean Boelman
A highly-stylized comedy, Emily Cohn’s directorial debut Crshd hopes to use its infectious energy to charm younger viewers. The latest in a string of in-touch teen comedies, there are some fun moments here, but the script is far too weighed down by clichés to be particularly memorable.
The film follows a group of friends as they try to get invited to an exclusive “crush party” in the hopes that one of them can lose their virginity before their freshman year in college ends. The storyline of best friends getting together for one last hurrah is becoming more and more common in the genre, but unfortunately, the stakes just aren’t here for the storyline to work.
Perhaps the single biggest weakness the movie has is that it does not adequately build the friendship between the three leads. This arc is very reliant on the viewer having nostalgia for their own days of getting into wacky hijinks with their friends. Unfortunately, since more focus is put on the characters individually, this doesn’t work very well.
That isn’t to say the film offers nothing of value — the characters are actually relatively compelling on their own. However, it is worthy of note that the protagonist’s quest to lose her virginity is much less original and interesting than the arcs of her two friends. Yet their development is often cut short in favor of another underbaked scene with the protagonist.
The humor of the film is a bit all over the place, resulting in some moments that are absolutely hilarious and others that verge on the point of being annoying. A few recurring gags in the movie offer a lot of potential, such as one character’s father who is an overzealous campus security officer, but these are largely abandoned in favor of more sentimental moments.
Still, the charming performances of the three leads are able to keep the film afloat, if only barely. Isabelle Barber, who is the lead, nails the comedic moments in a very natural and believable way, and Deeksha Ketkar is a solid sidekick. It is Sadie Scott, though, that is funniest in what is arguably the most complex but underused role in the movie.
On a technical level, Cohn’s film is certainly very ambitious, and this is a large part of what makes it enjoyable. The production design and cinematography are very fun and flashy, giving the movie a lovably over-the-top feel. Cohn obviously has a lot of great ideas behind the camera, and some of those allow the script to translate better.
The script of Crshd isn’t great, but it has its moments that will allow it to catch on with its target audience. And thanks to its energetic execution, the film has an infectious energy that will help it overcome some of its sections that are light on laughs.
Crshd screens in partnership with indie theaters beginning May 8. A list of participating locations can be found here.