'Crush' works because Queer Joy Is Expected

'Crush' works because Queer Joy Is Expected ...

Romantic comedy has a sense of predictability. They are formulaic, and that formula has worked for so long. It isnt always good, but sometimes it reduces those expectations that we know, and everything just falls into place. Times when using tropes and predictability works for the better; Hulus Crush is one of those times.

Queer happiness is often not a given in television and films. Often times, stories that a queer audience consumes will often focus on queer suffering or coming of age stories. That doesn''t always mean that it isnt always a given, but it can become exhausted for an audience to witness themselves suffer day in and day out without ever having a touch of happiness.

Paige (Rowan Blanchard), a high-school artist, has joined her school''s track team to connect with the girl she has a crush on, Gabriela (Isabella Ferreira). Not knowing anything about track, she has assigned her teammate AJ (Aulii Cravalho) to her. Paige is confronted with a dilemma about who she should be pursued.

Being queer is not something extraordinary; it appears to be the norm in this film. Dillon, Paiges'' best friend, is navigating through the other options for Paige within the first 30 minutes. It''s played as a joke, with every girl having a problem that Paige would not be able to get behind, but it''s something so different when it comes to romantic films, which involves a queer audience.

Crush does not alter the formula, but it is very dependent on it, but this freshness continues to follow it. When it comes to gender and sexuality, the film follows the bubble of happiness and acceptance. Although, it does not even include the author''s opinion, it does not include the author''s respect for the audience. It does not even affect Paige''s relationship with her mother, however.

The subtle hints at the other side of the coin with AJs character. A mysterious jock who lives in her twin sister''s shadow, AJ represents everything Paige is not. Its subtle, but when AJ talks about it she does not seem to describe it as Paige earlier in the film, considering it as one of her happiest memories. However, the film may broaden without changing the story with that one conversation.

Crush is so special because it still addresses all of the hype we expect from a film centered around queer teenagers, and it chooses to use it as a backdrop for the central love triangle instead of at the forefront like most movies. But the main love triangle is all out and proud; rather, it is placed front and center, defining pretty much everything. Relying heavily on notions that the audience knows and understands should not have worked the way it does.

This film isn''t about two girls, but the love triangle between Paige and AJ is common to anyone who has seen a romantic comedy before. It doesn''t reinvent it; the nerd in love with the famous girl only to fall for the more mysterious one is nothing new. It is also a love story that never seems to bother with. It is only about two girls, but it is also a relationship. Being queer is the norm.

Queer happiness is just present, and the film relies heavily on it. And that fresh air makes it that Crush is unlike most queer films we have previously. But that is okay because for one, we get what we never get a cheesy romantic comedy that is not about coming out but rather about love.

Sign up for Collider''s newsletter for exclusive news, features, streaming recommendations, and more.