While this side of the Atlantic thankfully remains secure from mad cow disease, the toxic influence of an American export seems to have touched down on British shores. It's impossible to imagine writer-director John McKay's Crush existing without Sex And The City, and it's easy to imagine what Crush is like by envisioning Sex And The City with English accents and a provincial setting. In Crush, three fortysomething friends gather weekly to smoke, drink, and exchange stories of man trouble. One (Imelda Staunton) is a frumpy, diminutive police captain who's unsatisfied with her love life. One is a doctor (Anna Chancellor) who's been married three times already and remains on the prowl for a man. And one is a prim, unhappily man-free schoolmistress inexplicably played by Andie MacDowell (who at least seems less out of place here than in Four Weddings And A Funeral). From his film's opening scenes, McKay wastes no time establishing a tone of shrill hysteria that carries over to MacDowell's romance with a man 15 years her junior (Kenny Doughty), a former student who now serves as her school's substitute organist. (Cue many, many puns on the word "organ.") Though initially amused by the romance, MacDowell's friends decide that she and Doughty make a bad match, because… well, because the plot requires it. As the relationship intensifies, Staunton and Chancellor scheme to break them up. MacDowell spends much of the film entertaining doubts about her romance, but, like the film itself, she fails to recognize that she could solve all her problems by finding less horrid friends. Never good, Crush takes a turn for the worse when it takes a turn for the serious. Its attempt to drop cartoon comedy for cartoon tragedy essentially thrusts the characters from Cathy into the panels of Mary Worth.