I want to start this with an amusing observation in that "Crazy Rich Asians" may as well be called "Asian Instagram The Movie." Seriously. Most things you see on Instagram are well highlighted in this film. Eye catching scenery and tourist locations? Check. Mouth watering images of food and cooking said food? Check. Living the life and partying it up? Check. Blatantly flaunting products and merchandise? Check. Beautiful people dressed in fancy clothes? Check. Extravagant social gatherings and events? Check. Situations and status that you wished were actually your real life and not make believe? Check Check and Check! Needless to say, visually, this movie is very pleasing to the eyes. How's the story though?
The story is an adaptation of the Kevin Kwan novel of the same name, and it's essentially the familiar love story of a regular nobody ending up with a super rich popular person. There's the family that doesn't exactly approve of the coupling. Our main protagonist has to rise up to the challenge of proving their own worth. Adversity is encountered. Hilarity ensues. Lessons are learned. Drama. Romance. Comedy. Typical stuff right? Yes, but thankfully Director Jon M Chu, plus screenwriters Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, are able to make a derivative premise into something very enjoyable to watch. Of course all the significant subtext involving Asian culture is a huge part of what makes this story go beyond being "typical," and I could dissect all of that if I wanted to here, but this is a spoilers free review...
It does help this movie to have a fantastic cast though. Like Constance Wu. Wow is she awesome in this. She plays her role as Rachel Chu so well, that it's hard not to root for her in this movie. Lovable and sympathetic, she is our heroine in this story as well as the audience surrogate. This movie would not work as well as it did without Constance Wu in the role. The huge ensemble cast definitely helps though, with highlights coming from Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Nico Santos, Ronny Chieng, and many more. Wait. I'm not forgetting somebody. I'm saving him for last. Henry Golding as Nick Young. Wowee, this man has that Je Ne Sais Quoi. That "It Factor." That screen presence. What a charming man this Nick Young is. Rachel Chu is lucky to have him. Speaking of which, I thought the chemistry between them was great, and I was genuinely invested in their pairing.
There's going to be a lot of people that will talk up the Asian factors to "Crazy Rich Asians." Stats will be thrown, representation will be lauded, and more people will be educated on things Asian. All that is important and all, but at the end of the day, if we're talking about this movie by itself... then this is a familiar romantic comedy, that happens to have beautiful visuals, and is entertaining as heck. It's still all about these rich and famous people, full of indulgent opulence, which can be off putting and unrelatable at times. So its not perfect, I have some issues with it, but it's undeniably enjoyable and fun to watch. It puts a smile on my face, and possibly even a tear drop or two.
As an Asian American, I'm proud of this movie.
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