Review - 'Crazy Rich Asians'
This summer we've been inundated with superheroes, dinosaurs, millennium falcons, giant sharks, secret agents and more superheroes. It was all starting to be a bit, well, much. John M. Chu has seemingly heard my silent cries for a moment of reprieve because his film, Crazy Rich Asians, is a fizzy and refreshing burst of rom-com soda-pop that cleanses the pallet at just the right time.
Based on the best-selling book of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of a native New Yorker, Rachel Chu, who is in a serious relationship with her boyfriend, Nick Young. When Nick invites her to a wedding in Singapore, she accepts. Chu quickly finds out that Nick Young's family is one of the wealthiest in Singapore, and that she has much more to prove to them than she initially thought.
John M. Chu, who previously directed such gems as Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Step Up 2: The Streets and G.I. Joe Retaliation This would have been a cause for concern if I had known he had directed these movies before this one, but I failed to do much research before going into this film. I can safely say that this is easily Chu's best film, and is a massive step up from anything he's done in the past. The characters are likable and well-balanced, the film is edited basically to perfection and the cinematography is surprisingly pleasing on the eyes.
Crazy Rich Asians isn't high art, let's just get that out of the way from the get-go. The plot is basically a twist on the Cinderella story, but draped in contemporary confines. There's also nothing particularly transcendent about this movie when compared to other competently made rom-coms, save for the fact that it's the first American-funded film to be made by Asians and feature solely Asians and Asian-Americans in practically every role. However, Crazy Rich Asians has an earnestness to it that is irresistible, it is what it is and it isn't trying to hide it. I feel like I've seen so many romantic comedies that think they're more clever and like-able than they actually are. Crazy Rich Asians knows exactly what it is, and is confident about it. I laughed, I nearly cried and above all: I had a damn good time.
The acting talent is spot-on. Constance Wu is perfect as Rachel Chu, an Asian-American woman that balances conflicting emotions of uncertainty and confidence in a convincing way. She's a very easy protagonist to root for and even though I'm neither Asian or female, I felt myself identifying with her throughout much of the film. Henry Golding plays her rich boyfriend Nick Young. He does a good job with what he is given, but there were times when he was a little too perfect to be believed. This guy nearly never says or does the wrong thing, which made him seem a bit two-dimensional. Michelle Yeoh plays Nick's mother, Eleanor Sung-Young. She basically assumed the evil step-mother role of the story, though to say she is "evil" isn't accurate. Yeoh does an excellent job of convincing us why Sung-Young believes Rachel isn't worthy of her son. The only character that missed the mark for me was Goh Peik Lin played by Awkafina, who is basically a constant comic relief character. She's going to be a big hit for a lot of people, but for me she was a little too much of something that I didn't find all that amusing or funny.
All said, Crazy Rich Asians is pretty much the perfect package if you're looking for a good romantic comedy. Aside from some cheesy moments and one character that I found more annoying than funny, I really don't have much negative to say about the movie. Crazy Rich Asians is an easy recommend for movie-goers looking for a good time with romance, some laughs and great characters.