Coming from SHOUT! Factory and director Andrew Cymek is a story that reaches in to the heart and gives it a little country squeeze with the story of a “Country Crush.”
This is a tale of a small town and its folks with big dreams. Nancy (Madeline Merlo) is a young woman looking to sing to the masses. She believes finding producer Brad (Jacob Blair) and the new label he represents offers her an opportunity to finally be heard. Then there is Charlie (Munro Chambers), the local mechanic who is proud to own his business and loves his family.
Charlie’s big brother Cody (Kevin McGarry) also loves his family. Wife Katherine (Jana Kramer) and son Cody Jr. (Samuel Faraci) are his motivation to serve his country in the military. Getting ready for deployment, he spends as much time with family as possible. He also knows that Charlie will keep an eye on everything while he is away.
Nancy and friend Ainsley (Sophie Simmons) are off to a gathering of friends filled with music and fun. That was the plan until Nancy’s car decides to take a breakdown on the side of the road. Calling for a tow, Charlie shows up as fun loving Ainsley leaves her girl to tend to everything else.
Charlie assures Nancy that fixing her car is all that is going on between them as a night getting to know one another brings unexpected sparks. Nancy tells Charlie about her dream to sing and he knows a few people to at least get her in that direction if even only for a moment.
Later Charlie meets producer Brad and over hears a conversation that lets him know Brad isn’t everything he pretends to be. Trying to warn Nancy, she makes it clear to Charlie that nothing is going to stand in her way of success – not even him. Fighting their emotions for one another, Nancy uses her wanting of success to push everything else aside, especially Charlie.
Sometimes it takes time away to learn the most valuable life lessons of all.
Chambers as Bishop is a sweet character who only wants what’s best for those around him. Definitely devoted to family, Chambers gives his character a quiet quality that only wants the best for those around him. Once he breaks out into song, there is an even deeper quality to his performance that is nothing short of endearing. McGarry as brother Cody has a voice on him as well and the duet with Chambers is one that I’d listen to again and again.
Merlo as Nancy is a young woman who is driven by her desire for success. Making a few missteps along the way, she knows Charlie has a good heart but is too stubborn to listen to anyone. She has a sweet voice that really does have a country feel to it. What impresses me more perhaps is that Merlo is the singing voice for Sonata Dusk in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks. I mention this because my granddaughter never misses an episode!
Kramer as Katherine portrays a woman like many military wives worried about their husbands leaving on deployment and thrilled for the moments they can spend, even if it’s only a conference call. Kramer has a resume that includes so many memorable shows with her character of Portia Ranson in the “90210” series, Brooke Manning in the HBO series “Entourage” and Alex Dupre on “One Tree Hill.”
Simmons as Ainsley is that friend we all have had at one time or another. Her goal is having a good time and sometimes stepping on toes belonging to other people’s feet. She does have the chance to share her singing chops showing the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Simmons is the daughter of legendary rock icon Gene Simmons of KISS. Blair as Brad is just the usual all-around douche bag who uses his position badly and there is something to be said for playing the bad guy now and again.
Other cast include Marcia Bennett as Mrs. Stanley, Kristian Bruun as Barney and Hannah Jepp as Hannah Wallace.
SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite “Long Way North,” and the epic fantasy “Beauty And The Beast.” Also their own original horror film, “Fender Bender,” gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer go to www.shoutfactory.com.
“Country Crush” is an all around story about the people who live in a small town and still have big dreams. The definition of big dreams depends on who you talk to. Nancy’s big dreams are to sing to large crowds and Charlie’s big dream is to run a successful business. Both dreams are filled with heart which is what makes dreams come true.
The music adds the right touch to the story telling and are songs that you might hear on the radio quite easily. Each song falls seamlessly into the story line and I enjoyed hearing Chambers and Merlo sing together. There is a vocal chemistry between them that is very sweet.
In the end — sometimes country just needs a little musical!