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Well, THAT sure was a waste of time!

by Andrew Green

Here's a mystery type movie. Yeah.

Cherry Crush (2007)

A high school kid gets busted for taking racy pictures of fellow students and is kicked out of school. Then, he's seduced and a murder plot develops, or something.

So Cherry Crush is presented like some kind of sexy, smart thriller, complete with a classic BUM-BUM-BUUUUMMMM piano track. A rich kid named Jordan gets thrown out of a private school for taking naked pictures of his female classmates. He gets shipped off to a public school, where he meets a sassy, yet brilliant girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and almost instantly falls in love. "She wore her defiance like a badge of honor," says Jordan's irritating voice-over as he watches the girl, Shay, openly smoke a cigarette at a school football game. "I knew I had to photograph her."

"OK, NOW we're getting somewhere!" I thought...but, NO -- that wasn't meant to be. Sure, he does get to photograph her, but it's not the point of the movie, and we never see any nudity, which basically kills this film's only shot at being worth watching. In fact, the whole erotic photographer backstory is rather misleading, as Jordan's REAL purpose here is to get involved in some kind of murder-blackmail plot. See, Shay is having an affair with a prominent local attorney, and she tries to extort money from him for tuition at a big-time music school. Things go wrong, and the lawyer winds up dead. Jordan helps Shay cover it up, and yada yada yada.

Anyway, the best thing about Cherry Crush is that the sleazy lawyer is played by none other than THE Frank Whaley, my favorite actor. I love that guy! He pops up in the most unexpected places, and his presence must be the reason why I queued this one.

Sadly, however, not even Frank can save Cherry Crush. It's just a flat out stupid, pointless movie. First of all, every plot device and character here have used a million times before in better movies, and I wonder why anyone would bother to make something so unoriginal. Even the teen audience, who I suspect this film was aimed at, should be able to see every twist about a mile away. Why devote the time to shooting it? Couldn't these people have done something else? An afternoon posting on Facebook would be more rewarding than making a movie like this. It has nothing to offer.

Look at the characters: Jordan is an annoying whiner, and Shay is hard to swallow as a tough girl cello player. There's also a blond friend who doesn't do anything and, of course, Frank Whaley dies after a few scenes. Of all the cliched personalities in this movie, though, none made me slap my forehead harder than the jaded detective who lurks around throughout the entire ordeal, always up to what Jordan has done, but never actually busting him. He pulls Jordan aside in the school photo lab, and smugly hints at what he knows. Circling Jordan slowly, the cop mutters cryptic bits of advice and vague threats. He even pauses at the door on his way out, Columbo-style, with an "Oh, one more thing..." line. This guy was ridiculous, and I'm glad he finally got shot.

Even more annoying are the previously-mentioned voice-overs. Jordan has to directly explain EVERYTHING in this movie, which I've always thought was a cheap narrative trick to compensate for bad writing and acting. "She had a body to die for; I was instantly smitten"....Why do we need him to directly tell us that? It gets old very fast, and never seems to let up. Cherry Crush is not a classic film noir (even if it wants to be), and Jonathan Tucker is no Humphrey Bogart. No one wants to hear this kid's monotonous voice for 90 minutes. Nothing he says is witty or interesting, even though we're apparently supposed to think it is. The dialogue uttered by other characters is equally stupid. My favorite line came from Shay: "I have two talents, and the second one is knowing what the first one is."That's classic!

Cherry Crush is a poorly made, poorly acted, poorly written waste of time. Don't be fooled by the DVD description: it is neither thrilling, nor sexy. It's just lame.

1 out of 5.