Romantic comedies haven’t been a big hit at the movie theater in years, but the delightfully fun and heart-warming “Crazy Rich Asians” could be a sign of more good films to come. If all rom-coms can be as well made as “Crazy Rich Asians”, we’ll be in for a real romantic treat.
What “Crazy Rich Asians” does best is get the parts of the romantic comedy exactly right. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel or subvert expectations to any great degree. Instead, the film nails all of the story beats that made rom-coms so popular in the first place. The characters are charming, the drama has real stakes and the romance is to die for.
Constance Wu stars as New York-based professor Rachel Chu, who has just been invited by her boyfriend to travel back to his home in Singapore to meet his extended family. When their plane tickets are immediately bumped up to First Class, Rachel begins to learn, much to her surprise, that her boyfriend is actually the golden child of the richest, most extravagant family in all of Asia. He’d been keeping that a secret, you see, because he’s so humble and down-to-Earth.
But what starts as a lavish look into the type of wealth most of us can only dream of quickly sours into an underbelly of jealousy, vindictiveness and a family steeped in Asian traditions and expectations. The family sees Rachel as a gold-digging outsider, when all she wants is to get along with her boyfriend’s family.
From there, “Crazy Rich Asians” follows a lot of classic rom-com story threads.
There are glamour montages, a solid supporting cast of quirky best friends, and a roller coaster of emotions.
“Crazy Rich Asians” handles all of these near flawlessly, and you can’t help but be swept up in the drama.
Can Rachel keep her head above water in this crazy, luxurious world? Or will the cold family matriarch, played by veteran actor Michelle Yeoh, “rescue” her son from this wicked American outsider and maintain the family’s honor? It’s very easy to get wrapped up in this movie.
The cast is phenomenal. Wu easily holds her own as the center of the movie, juggling her fears and strengths equally against all of the challenges the movie throws at her.
Yeoh plays her matriarch role quite well, to the extent that you don’t hate her, but you definitely don’t want her to win.
Henry Golding is the humble boyfriend and plays the role exactly as such, while hip hop artist Awkwafina is very entertaining in the traditional
supportive best friend role.
Much hype has been made about the fact that this is the first major studio release in more than 25 years to feature an all-Asian cast, not since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club. This is important for a lot of reasons, not least of which is that representation absolutely matters and should not be taken for granted. People of all races can enjoy this movie the same as any other race, and it’s important that all races can feel just as warm and welcome into mainstream entertainment.
“Crazy Rich Asians” does not shy away from the culture and heritage at the heart of the movie, making for an even more authentic and emotional film.