Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: Contains coarse language
Constance Wu as Rachel Chu
Henry Golding as Nick Young
Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Sung-Young
Gemma Chan as Astrid Leong-Teo
Lisa Lu as Shang Su Yi
Awkwafina as Goh Peik Lin
Harry Shum Jr. as Charlie Wu
Ken Jeong as Goh Wye Mun
Director: Jon M. Chu
Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. She’s also surprised to learn that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse — Nick’s disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh).
Crazy Rich Asians was a movie I had been hearing about for some time. Romantic comedies are probably one of my least favourite genres of movies but some of them are great like 500 Days of Summer and The Big Sick. Obviously one of the things that stood out about this movie is that it has a mainly Asian cast and done by a major studio, and so I was interested in checking it out. Crazy Rich Asians is a pretty solid romantic comedy that can feel very familiar to other romantic comedies. However it is definitely something significant for representation, is quite funny, has a lot of heart to it and it is definitely worth checking out.
Crazy Rich Asians is actually based on a book of the same name (which was also followed by two sequels), however I haven’t read it so I can’t really say how the film adaptation differs from the novel. Like I said, this is a romantic comedy, and a lot of the tropes associated with romantic comedies are present here. It’s also not one of the more unpredictable romantic comedies out there and doesn’t really do anything too differently from others (outside of the different culture). Even with a different setting and maybe slightly different characters, it does still feel very familiar a lot of the time. On top of that, I will admit that the first half is nothing too special but decent and it’s the second half is where it picks up. It is genuinely heartfelt however, especially towards the third act. It’s also quite funny (as to be expected) and the dialogue is really good. At 2 hours it does feel a little overly long, I’ve only seen the movie once and I can’t pick any particular scenes to cut out, but there is definitely a length or pacing problem. It’s probably why the film improved in the second half, at that point it picked up in the story a lot.
The whole cast are great in their roles. Constance Wu and Henry Golding are likable as the leads and share some very strong chemistry. Other actors like Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina (she in particular is a standout here) and others do great work as well.
Director John M. Chu hasn’t done a lot of great work, the only other film of his that I’ve seen was Now You See Me 2, but he also directed Step Up 2, Step Up 3, Step Up Revolution, GI Joe Retaliation and Jem and the Holograms. However, I think he did a solid job with Crazy Rich Asians. One thing that Crazy Rich Asians really does well is show off the culture really well, from the locations, the music, the food (so much food), all the culture is on display and I’m glad that they really took advantage of that for the movie. The only bad aspect of the direction was that there was one scene early on involving texting/social media with this weird editing and visual effects which really felt out of place from the rest of the movie. You’ll know which one it is and it really stands out but it’s a minor issue nonetheless.
Crazy Rich Asians is funny and heartfelt and worth watching. It’s second half is better than the first, and it’s not that different from other romantic comedies (falling into many of the same tropes and clichés) but overall it’s still good. It’s also undeniably significant with all the representation. I’m glad to hear that there is a sequel in the works already, and I’m on board for it.