Crazy Rich Asians is the big screen flick that injects some new life so desperately needed in the romantic comedy genre. If Netflix had their way, you wouldn’t be seeing the film in theaters. This means that my Netflix-free parents wouldn’t see it at all. Thank G-d a studio wanted to release this film in theaters because it’s a lot of fun.
NYU economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) had no clue what she was getting when she first met Nick Young (Henry Golding). Thankfully, we avoid the meet-cute though we’re first introduced to the Young family in a 1995 prologue scene so full of racism. Nick’s best friend, Colin Khoo (Chris Pang) is set to get married in Singapore to Araminta Lee (Sonoya Mizuno) and their relationship is at the point that he’s ready to bring her to meet his family. His crazy rich family, that is. Only she doesn’t know just how rich they are because he’s hid this from her.
Many of us will have the same reaction that Rachel does. She truly is a fish-out-of-water but holds her own upon being confronted. It shouldn’t matter that this is the first major film in some 25 years to boast an all-Asian cast. Yes, this is important but the story is so similar for many of us as we just want to fit in while staying true to our own values. Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) is that mother who will never ever in a million years approve of Rachel as her daughter-in-law.
Hiding the truth does make for some comical moments later on but also the dramatic ones, too. To everyone else in his family save for a family member or two like Astrid (Gemma Chan), Rachel is a commoner. She’s not worthy for their precious Nick. He doesn’t care. The only thing that should matter is whether or not Nick is happy. As for Nick’s mom, she makes her feelings clear. It’s enough that Rachel would rather leave Nick for him to marry a girl that his mom approves of.
Last scene in Ocean’s 8, Awkwafina steals the show as Rachel’s former roommate, Peik Lin Goh. She’s fashion-savvy and is smart enough to carry outfits in her trunk for any occasion! Ken Jeong and Nico Santos also provide for some comical moments. Some of these characters are just begging for a spin-off!
It doesn’t matter how many predictable rom-com cliches show up in Crazy Rich Asians because the film is a lot of fun. There are quite a bit of jokes reminding us that these people are rich. Whether it’s Ken Jeong’s money line during a scene at the table or some references to the wedding costs, the jokes are there. You can’t help but laugh and cry at the same time with regards to the former.
With a fish-out-of-water angle, Crazy Rich Asians ought to be the type of romantic comedy that should appeal to anyone regardless of culture.
DIRECTOR: Jon M. Chu
SCREENWRITERS: Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim
CAST: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Jimmy O. Yang, Ronny Chieng, Remi Hii, Nico Santos, with Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh