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movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Crash

Starring: James Spader, Holly Hunter
Director: David Cronenberg
Rated: NC-17
RunTime: 98 Minutes
Release Date: March 1997
Genres: Drama, Cult

*Also starring: Peter MacNeill, Elias Koteas, Deborah Unger, Rosanna Arquette, Peter MacNeil

Review by Andrew Hicks
1 star out of 4

The realm of soft-core porn has officially run out of premises to tie together its mismatched sex scenes. Hence CRASH, a film where the generic sex scenes revolve around car crashes, which turn us all on in our own way. Of course. CRASH caused a big controversy at the Cannes film festival last year with its show of fetish in such violence circumstances; even Ted Turner was appalled and he's married to Barbarella, for God's sake!

The movie begins with a woman (Deborah Kara Unger) pressing her breast against a small aircraft. A man takes her from behind. Cut to a Hollywood camera room. A man (James Spader) is pounding into a pretty Asian camerawoman. Cut to later that night. We find out Unger and Spader are married, and enjoy the thrill of swapping, public sex and the like. They provide Brief Sex Scene #3 on the balcony, as they stare down at the highway traffic.

Here's where CRASH starts to deviate from anything else you can see on Cinemax after midnight on Fridays. Spader is driving on the highway, happy as you please, when he steers into the opposite on-ramp and hits an oncoming car head-on. The other driver sails through the windshield and into Spader's passenger seat, which in a football game would earn you three points. He's dead, of course, but Spader and the man's wife (Holly Hunter) survive the crash and go through recovery in the hospital.

After the requisite "erotic sponge bath" scene, Spader and Hunter are released from hospital, Spader with the irrepressible urge to get back behind the wheel. He gives Hunter a ride to the airport, during which a car crash is narrowly averted. It makes them horny like the dickens, though, so those two have sex in the front seat, which is indeed included in the deluxe options package. Then comes the exciting Spader-Hunter first date, a trip to an underground car show in which a man (Elias Koteas) and his cohorts reenact the fatal crash of James Dean.

Yes, Koteas is down with the car-sex fetish and finds two willing friends in Spader and Hunter, who join him, his leather-clad girlfriend (Rosanna Arquette) and a couple other people to masturbate to crash test videos. No kidding. The material in CRASH is utterly hilarious because it's all taken so seriously. Writer / producer / director David Cronenberg would have us believe that this car crash sex stuff is perfect dramatic material for the masses. Played as a parody of soft-core sex flicks, CRASH would have been great. Played straight, it's almost unbearable. Keep these people away from monster truck shows.

Rated NC-17 for man / woman sex, woman / woman sex, man / man sex, woman / aircraft sex, man / tailpipe sex, woman / parking brake sex, man / car cigarette lighter sex and woman / woman / strap-on-rearview-mirror sex.

Copyright 1997 Andrew Hicks

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