Comedy Crazy Rich Asians

Review: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a Crazy Good Rom-Com with a Delightfully Diverse Twist

August 15, 2018Ben MK

Meeting the parents of the person you're dating can be intimidating. But when those parents also happen to be the wealthiest real estate developers in all of Singapore — well, let's just say it gives the word intimidating a whole new meaning.

Based on the first book in author Kevin Kwan's bestselling trilogy, Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a New York City economics professor who has been dating Asia's most eligible bachelor, Nick Young (Henry Golding), for an entire year without even knowing it. Then one day, Nick asks Rachel to accompany him home as his date for his cousin Colin's (Chris Pang) wedding. But when Rachel wholeheartedly accepts, little does she realize that she’s about to be thrust into the spotlight, where everyone from Nick's friends and family to complete strangers are waiting to chime in with their two cents about whether she's good enough for him.

The only child of a single mother (Kheng Hua Tan) who immigrated with her to America when before she was born, Rachel finds herself caught off guard by some of the Chinese customs she encounters while visiting Nick's family, not to mention his vast circle of relatives and acquaintances, which includes wannabe movie producer Alistair Cheng (Remy Hii), his older brother, Hong Kong banker Edison Cheng (Ronny Chieng), and Bernard Tai (Jimmy O. Yang), the spoiled son of a billionaire. However, nothing can prepare Rachel for meeting the respected and feared matriarch of the Young family, the iron-willed Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh).

A fiercely protective traditionalist who herself spent many years trying to earn the approval of Nick's beloved grandmother (Lisa Lu), Eleanor has been keen for Nick to take over the family business and is instantly dismissive of Rachel, perceiving her as someone who will bring dishonor to their family. But even with the help and support of her colorful former college roommate Peik Lin (Awkwafina), Nick's cousin Astrid (Gemma Chan), and another eccentric cousin named Oliver (Nico Santos), can Rachel win over her potential future mother-in-law and prove that love conquers all?

Directed by John M. Chu and adapted for the screen by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, Crazy Rich Asians arrives at a time when diversity and representation are top of mind in Hollywood. Yet, despite the intense scrutiny and all the pressure that's been heaped on it and all involved, the film still manages to live up to the hype, thanks to a gorgeous Far East setting and an all-Asian cast that mixes names like Ken Jeong (which Western audiences might be familiar with) with actors like Sonoya Mizuno, Fiona Xie and Jing Lusi, many of whom are not household names in the West (though probably not for long).

Not only does Crazy Rich Asians make good on bringing an authentic representation of East Asian culture to the big screen, it also feels like an authentic love story, thanks to impassioned performances from both Wu and Golding. And while the movie can come off as rather formulaic at times, it's the believability and chemistry that its two leads imbue their characters' on-screen relationship with that makes this one crazy good rom-com.

Crazy Rich Asians releases August 15th, 2018 from Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for some suggestive content and language. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 1 min.

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