Another day, another love story. From the looks of it, it is a teen coming-of-age rom-com, though we believe that those terms have started being used very loosely. “Crush,” to be honest, is a fun movie, and it delivers better than we expected because the writers understood something very important: they knew how to make fun of themselves while not turning it into a complete parody but managing to keep it sweet and realistic, as much as rom-coms can get anyway. So, it is their understanding of this fine balance that makes “Crush,” such a good watch. Let’s see what the storyline is about.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
We love movies that hook us in right away. “Crush” begins with Paige thinking about how she has to talk about the happiest moment of her life through a medium of her choice to be able to get into the art school of her dreams. But here’s the problem: she doesn’t know what the moment is. As she thinks about it, she wonders if it was when she told her mother that she was gay and she was extremely supportive or when she met Gabriella, the girl who has been her crush since she met her in middle school.
As she goes to school with her best friend Dillon, he tells her that it is a cliché to be pining over the school’s most popular girl and she should not spend her time just thinking about her. At school, a whole different scene is going on. Somebody by the name of “King Pun” is painting over school property. These are mostly, true to their name, paintings that depict a pun of some sort. For example, a painting of “flipping the bird” is a bird, flying upside down, instead of the general meaning of showing the middle finger. But here’s the thing: everybody thinks that King Pun is Paige, because she is the only one who can draw that well. While Paige, Dillon, and their girlfriend Stacey are walking down the school hallway, they come across Gabriella, who invites them to join the track team. Paige, seeing it as a way of spending some time with her crush, agrees, even though she admits she has no athletic ability.
But things take a turn when she is called to the principal’s office, and they say that she needs to be suspended because they think she is King Pun and is defacing school property. Paige cannot afford that if she has to get into the art school, so she bargains using the fact that she is a member of the track team, which makes her an “all-rounder,” hence a valuable student. Not just that, she also promises to find out who is “King Pun” before the end of the semester. The principal agrees, and now Paige has a few new challenges in front of her.
On the track field, she is miserable as she is not good at any of the activities. Seeing this, the coach assigns AJ to coach her. AJ is Gabriella’s twin sister and the co-captain of the track team. She is known for her mysterious, self-assured personality. She does not look thrilled with this responsibility, but accepts it nonetheless. Later that day, she notices that King Pun has posted on Instagram that they will be at Gabriella’s party. Seeing this, Paige and Dillon decide to go investigate. At the party, as Paige tries to escape from a girl named Chantal, who talks about being a witch and is oddly weird, she runs into AJ. She tells her about her situation and why she is trying to find King Pun. They bond further as they try to ask around if anybody knows who they are.
The next day, Paige is extremely hungover when she goes for her track practice with AJ, and they share light banter as they get to know each other better. Both of them get along well, and over time, AJ opens up to Paige about the pressures she has to face at home and how she is unable to do everything she wants to. As they participate in and win the track competition, they are already good friends at this point. Paige gets comfortable enough with her to show her some of the paintings she’s done for art school. AJ tells her that while they are very good, they seem to be lacking some emotion in them, echoing what Paige has been thinking all along. Just then, Paige spots a notebook on the ground, and when she goes through it, she finds out that it belongs to King Pun as it has a lot of their ideas and their names. She DMs them that she has their notebook and says that she will be leaving it at a certain spot where they can come and collect it. What she plans to do is hold a stakeout to catch them red-handed, and AJ, Gabriella, Dillon, and Stacey are all in on the plan. As they wait for King Pun to show up, Stacey teams up with Gabriella as they hide in different spots while waiting for their culprit. Gabriella tells her that she broke up with her girlfriend, Aya. They talk about their middle-school days when they teamed up for a project where they had to play parents to a boiled egg. Gabriella suggests that they kiss, just as a throwback to their old days. As they do so, Paige thinks about how it was her first kiss. Just then, a car passes them by, and it belongs to the popular guy at school. They deduce that he must be King Pin.
Paige tells Dillon that she is sort of disappointed because she did not feel everything she thought she would when sharing her first kiss with the girl she has been in love with since forever. As they discuss this, it is suggested that maybe it wasn’t her inexperience as a kisser but the person she was kissing. In the next scene, at a school outing, AJ and Paige are assigned to share a room. But before that, all the classmates gather for a party where they play the game of “7 minutes.” It is essentially when a person has to spend 7 minutes in a closed room with the person they are paired with. As the people are chosen, Paige is selected. Dillon draws out a phone and asks who it belongs to. AJ and Gabriella both claim it as theirs, so he asks them what their screen is. AJ replies that it is the character in an anime. Dillon sees that it is a picture of Gabriella but says that the phone belongs to AJ and sends them into the room together. Over there, both the girls talk about their childhood and, unexpectedly, end up kissing each other. AJ thinks that this is Paige’s first kiss.
Back in the room, they both decide that they shouldn’t be awkward, but it is clear that they know that they share something more than friendship. That night, AJ fell asleep, but Paige was unable to. She goes out for a walk when she spots a very drunk Gabriella, who tries to kiss her, but Paige refuses, saying that she has a crush on somebody else, which Gabriella respects. At the end of the track competition, as AJ and Paige are about to talk, Gabriella comes and apologizes to the latter for trying to kiss her, saying that she shouldn’t have assumed consent just because they kissed once. AJ is furious when she hears this and admits that she is, in fact, King Pun and that she doesn’t want to talk to Paige anymore. Dillon holds Paige back and asks her to give some time to AJ. On the other hand, Gabriella, who now knows the full picture, goes to talk to her sister, who admits that she wanted one thing that was just for herself and not something diverted from Gabriella.
Over the next three days, Paige figures out that AJ was always there when she started crushing on Gabriella and that the past few days had been her happiest. She confronts AJ about this and asks for her forgiveness, but AJ is not in the mood. Paige goes to the principal and says that she is King Pun and is ready to be suspended but is informed that AJ has already confessed with the evidence, so she has been suspended.
‘Crush’ Ending Explained – Do Paige And AJ Make-Up?
The election results for the Student Body president are approaching, and Gabriella brings AJ to it, saying that there is a surprise for her. Stacey wins the election and announces that she will listen to all the students and their grievances while taking a stand against the administration if required. She calls Paige on stage to say a few words. This is when she takes the mic and tells the audience that the time she spent with AJ meant a lot to her. She gets off the stage and goes to her directly, displaying her art on the screen. It is a collection of the moments they have spent together, and these were her happiest memories. AJ is happy to see this, and they kiss and get together in the end.
Meanwhile, Stacey has announced that she wants to start the beautification of the school grounds, and they need King Pun for that. The principal tells them that she doesn’t want to suspend either of them but will take credit for the beautification idea. Both of them agree to this, and this is where “Crush” ends, with them walking off into the sunset.
It’s a cute story, is what we thought when we saw the movie. Our belief that every love story is essentially old wine in a new bottle was reinforced, but to give credit where credit is due, it was a very attractive bottle. The plot was airtight, the characters likable despite being such cliches, and the dialogue engaging. That’s enough for most movies to be entertaining, and “Crush” meets this bare minimum criterion. To sum it up, the writers understood the assignment and delivered it well. When we are not expecting anything new, we don’t mind watching more rom-coms as long as they pack them up well, like “Crush” did.
“Crush” is a 2022 Romance Drama film directed by Sammi Cohen.