Do you get the feeling that the romantic comedy genre is kinda dying out, in your opinion? Nobody doesn’t seem to have a positive response to them since it doesn’t’ bring anything new to them. Most of them in the past few years have been good, but some of the recent ones don’t grab me. Hearing that Crazy Rich Asians could make for the most memorable one in years makes me interested very recently.
What’s the Story?: Based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel, Chinese-American Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is an economics professor living in New York who goes to Singapore with her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding. But knowing little about his family, she learns that his family is one of the wealthiest families in the entire country with the fame. Money, and the exotic luxury to consider them very glamorous.
Originally, Crazy Rich Asians wasn’t a movie that I wasn’t gonna check out at first. Didn’t know if this was gonna be any good because of Jon. M Chu directing it. His filmography doesn’t have a strong track record of being good that ranges from forgettable to horrible (Jem and the Holograms. Ooof!). But with the hype leading up to its release, it was probably a good way to end the summer for myself. But Crazy Rich Asians is without a doubt Chu’s best work to date. Being that this is the first mainstream movie to have a full Asian cast since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club, it’s about time for an old-fashioned romcom that’s gonna be liked by most people.
From Peter Chiarelli and Adele Li adapting this book to the screen, It’s easy to notice that this can be pretty predictable with a story like this in a more lavish style of Meet the Parents. The case where their significant other is super or vice versa has been done before. But in its long run, it felt like a classic movie that’s set in the 1960s that I didn’t exactly mind it being basic, for the most part. Chu directed a beautiful looking comedy that explores the gorgeous look at Singapore along with its outstanding costume and production design that’s mainly of parties that are going on in here.
Personally, this is the role Wu has been waiting to play for a long time. Rachel is basically a fresh-out-of-water woman who’s being overwhelmed by everything surrounding her. And if you haven’t watched her on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, watch it. I believed the relationship between her and Golding’s Nick. It’s a surprise that Golding, who will be seen later on in A Simple Favor, hasn’t acted in a film before. He’s gonna be considered as one of this year’s breakout performers because he had the perfect amount of charm put into his character. There was some controversy over his casting because he’s from a Malaysian Iban and English descent. But all of that didn’t really matter and didn’t hurt the film in any way since his chemistry with Wu was the most positive thing about Crazy Rich Asians.
The standout character in the entire movie goes to Awkwafina as Goh Peik Lin, Rachel’s college roommate who lives in Singapore. Almost every scene she’s in makes for a memorable moment that had me laughing. She’s honestly given more stuff to do in this than in Ocean’s 8, which I thought she was good but underused. Some might think it’s a distraction, I thought she was a good comic relief.
Can’t also forget Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon & Star Trek: Discovery) as Eleanor, Nick’s mother. Yeoh doesn’t have a lot of scenes, but she was really good in her performance for the mother who probably doesn’t like Rachel at first because of her background.
The film has its moments of humor that’s well-handled. I think I was one of the few people in my audience that laughed when something funny happens.
The one scene that’s my favorite is this beautiful wedding that’s being serenaded by someone singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” that was the perfect cover song to be played to this moment.
My problems that come with the film is that its formulaic and some moments do come off to be predictable. I also thought some of the side characters don’t get much screen time since they were kind of show through cutaways with who they are. And there this little subplot with Nick’s cousin, Astrid Leong-Teo (Gemma Chan, Captain Marvel), and her husband that I personally didn’t think it was useful to the actual plot.
2018 seems to be the year with diversity in movies, and it’s a welcome return for this culture to be represented in a positive way. Crazy Rich Asians go out of its way to be a harmless romcom that’s ultimately sweet, and that’s really okay. Turns out to be a summer/August surprise. Since Kwan wrote two follow-up books after this, it wouldn’t be shocking if a sequel is announced. And because of Crazy Rich Asians, this makes me wanna visit Singapore as soon as possible. So, here’s going there on my bucket list.
Crazy Rich Asians may be a typical romantic comedy, but it’s more than that with its diverse cast and a well-meaning story that aims to please.