Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians: Movie Review

A heart beneath all the glitz and glamour.

Crazy Rich Asians is an enjoyably funny romantic comedy because it succeeds with two distinct but equally important fundamentals of the genre: lead characters who are real, relatable, empathetic and decent people at their core, and supporting characters who are funny and/or conniving, and not necessarily decent people at their core. It’s a world of money and glamour and so much of both that it can be very hard to imagine that any humans actually live like this. 2018

Directed by: Jon M. Chu

Screenplay by: Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim
Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding

The secret at getting this type of world to work is Rachel (Constance Wu). She’s our protagonist; a down-to-earth, very cute, Chinese-American. She was raised by a single mother in New York, both worked hard, and Rachel is now an economics professor and dating a successful and handsome business man. What our slightly na├»ve heroine doesn’t know, but what every other socially-active Asian around the world does know, is that her boyfriend is Nick Young, the heir of the richest family in all of China? Singapore? all of Asia? let’s just say the richest family in all of the universe. It’s basically impossible to over-exaggerate their wealth. It really is that excessive. Unaware of Nick’s extreme wealth and connections, Rachel likes him for who he is; Nick likes Rachel for who she is.

The obstacles to their true love destiny lie in the form of Nick’s family and the many, many jealous girls hoping to land the hottest and richest bachelor in Asia. Rachel is about to meet Nick’s family for the first time when he flies her to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. On the flight over she starts cluing in to just how rich he is, but she is woefully unprepared for the adventure that greets them in Asia. Which leads us to another brilliant aspect of Rachel’s character, she’s a fish-out-of-water everywhere. In New York, she’s a Chinese-American, in Asia, she’s a Chinese-American. Her differences highlighted wherever she is, and yet she never lets her differences define her.

The supporting characters that really make the film all-around funny include Awkwafina as Rachel’s friend Peik Lin and Ken Jeong as Peik Lin’s father who help prepare Rachel and the audience for the insanity that awaits.

Crazy Rich Asians is a spectacle; the parties are massive, the weddings are elaborate extravaganzas, and the family rivalries come right out of Shakespeare or telenovelas. Nick’s cousins are extreme, Nick’s family is extreme, but luckily there is a heart beneath all the glitz and glamour, and fireworks, and yachts, and helicopters.