Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
PG-13 | 2h | Comedy, Romance | 15 August 2018 (USA)
Synopsis: The story follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life.
It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.
Review: If you are searching for an entertaining comedy chopped full of romance and beautiful cinematography look no further than CRAZY RICH ASIANS. Based on the best selling novel – not completely but more than enough – this culturally enriched film brings the splendor of Singapore to American audiences. Full of elaborate characters you will have a hard time deciding if these people are crazy rich or just crazy. But it is all in a light hearted nature that will please audiences of any background. Because if there is one thing we all have in common it is family.
Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is a native New Yorker heading to Singapore for the first time with her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding). She is about to discover that Nick is not only the most sought after bachelor in Asia but his family is, well, crazy rich. Nick adores Rachel as much as he respects his family and he is willing to fight tradition and snobbery if that is what it takes to be with the woman he loves. Sadly Nick’s family and old flames are not at quick to receive Rachel with open arms.
There are several elements to this film that make it succesful. Like the book it is written in a way that allows the heritage and personality of the characters to shine through. It is fast paced and the story moves quickly. Where the book takes a lot of set up, the film gives you just enough to know what is happening before Nick and Rachel head East. The movie shows the extravagance of the super wealthy and we get to see it first hand with Rachel. Although there are no true villains in the film you do want to root against Nick’s mother (Michelle Yeoh) and her attitude toward this new girl in her son’s life. At the same time the conversations that are had shine some light on the culture that is so different than our American one. So you can’t hate her completely.
An additional element to the films success is the comedy. This is brought mainly through Rachel’s best friend from college, Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina) and her eccentric family (Ken Jeong, Chieng Mun Koh, Calvin Wong). They also live in Singapore and are in awe of the Youngs. The fact that they get access to the elite Youngs through Rachel adds many laugh out loud moments. Awkwafina interprets the character in a way that fans of the book may not recognize but is perfect for the movie screen. She steals most of the scenes she is in.
At the heart of Crazy Rich Asians is romance. Romance of family, culture, Asia and most important the two main characters. Nick and Rachel are very easy to like the chemistry between Golding and Wu is fantastic. If that doesn’t work the rest of the film would be a non-issue. The fact that you are endeared to the main couple propels everything else forward. There is a scene toward the end that comes close to capturing the beauty of a lovers eyes more than any I have seen.
I will note for fans of the book that obviously not every story line and character arc could be fleshed out entirely. Although other characters like Astrid (Gemma Chan) and Eddie (Ronny Chieng) are here for us to see they may not be represented in the same way they are in the novel.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and language. This may get my number one date night film of the year award. It has something for everyone and couples young and old will take much away from the thematic elements of love, family, and cultural angst. I give it 4 out of 5 first class tickets. It is one that will capture hearts for years to come.