Monday, March 20, 2017

Country Crush: Movie Review

Finding its own country musical niche in a generic, uninspiring way.

It should be made very clear that Country Crush is a musical. There’s a big difference between a drama about a singer, and a musical-musical. While lead character Nancy (Madeline Merlo) is a singer and a third of the plot is her musical aspirations, this movie is pure musical. But more specifically, it’s a country musical. Similar, at least in part, to High School Musical, but make it country, very country. That description alone should turn off many viewers, but for those that are left, it does make this film unique. 2016

Directed by: Andrew Cymek

Screenplay by: Andrew Cymek, Jake Helgren

Starring: Munro Chambers, Madeline Merlo

The High School Musical part: these characters aren’t that far out of high school, so we’re still looking at a similar target audience, and one of the main storylines is the romance between lead characters Nancy and Charlie (Munro Chambers), and they just break out into song every few minutes whether it makes sense or not.

If we can call that the good part, here’s the bad: It’s extremely generic. The plot description of city girl and country boy is never expanded upon – she’s from “the” city, one that is never identified. The film makes very sure to not pigeonhole itself with any particular time, or place, (or war – more on that later) – which also means it’s that much harder to form a connection to any character or storyline happening here. Did I mention that there’s more than a couple storylines? Because, oh yes, city girl aspires to be a successful singer-songwriter, and country boy falls for said city girl, is just not enough. We also apparently need country boy carrying on after the loss of his mother and running a family business, as well as country boy’s brother going off to war and leaving his wife and young son behind.

This can make it sound worse than it is, especially the “country boy” parts because that is actually the best aspect of the movie. The film definitely plays up the whole good, wholesome, hard-working gentleman routine big time, but Charlie is still a very sympathetic character. It is very easy to care for him and root for him. He has the best mix of easy-going charm and determination and that is in no small part due to Munro Chambers’ performance. Everything about this movie just goes for making everything as generic as possible, but Chambers stands out. He succeeds in making Charlie a well-rounded and empathetic character, one who can actually carry the entire movie. He could be the next Zac Efron, and I hope he takes that as a compliment.

For country music fans who have wanted their own romantic drama musical, then Country Crush is it, because I’m not sure that genre even exists. It is nice seeing movies find their own little niche, but at the same time, it’s also a very generic, uninspiring take on a unique send-up of genres.