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Review: Teen comedy 'CRSHD' earns its likes

Writer-director Emily Cohn's debut feature understands the language of teenagers

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

No filmmaker has conveyed phone and app culture on film as successfully as Emily Cohn, whose debut feature "CRSHD" understands the language of Facebook, Instagram, Tinder and text messaging the same way Martin Scorsese inherently gets gangster life.

"CRSHD" is like living inside an iPhone. Cohn makes visual poetry out of the personalities of the various social networks and makes the language of teenage communication sound like a symphony. Give it two heart emojis, a winky face emoji and a thumbs up emoji. 

Isabelle Barbier, Sadie Scott, and Deeksha Ketkar in "CRSHD."

"CRSHD" is a teenage sex comedy with hyper-modern sensibilities. 

Isabelle Barbier is Izzy Alden, a college freshman in Ohio trying to lose her virginity before her first year at school officially comes to a close.

Along with her friends Fiona (Sadie Scott) and Anuka (Deeksha Ketkar), she heads to a party where she hopes to hook up, but like all teenage sex comedies — from "Risky Business" to "Superbad" to "Booksmart" — there are myriad obstacles in her way. 

Cohn stages text conversations between the three friends in colorful rooms that light up when each party is texting and uses different colored filters for each of the individual apps. At one point a character uses playground equipment to slide into Fiona's DMs, making literal the figurative phrase. It's a hoot. 

Cohn's visual sense of invention and her ability to convey teenage sensibilities and emotions is better than her cast, which feels amateurish throughout. But as a calling card, "CRSHD" shows Cohn as a filmmaker with a keen understanding of youth culture. Hollywood will be texting her soon. 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'CRSHD'

GRADE: B

Not rated: Sexual situations, language, drinking

Running time: 80 minutes

At Cinema Detroit's Virtual Cinema