Crazy Rich Asians is breaking new ground. It’s the first major studio production and release (Warner Brothers) in over 25 years (The Joy Luck Club 1993) with an almost entirely Asian cast. The public is certainly ready for this film, as it has already grossed over three times its budget. It has been the number one movie in the country for 21 days. A romantic comedy that starts in New York City where Nick Young, played by the charming and handsome Henry Golding (his jawbone could cut glass), invites his serious girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Rachel, who came from poverty and has worked hard to be the youngest professor at New York University (Economics), has no idea that Nick’s family are “Crazy Rich Asians.” He has purposely withheld this information from her, and it isn’t revealed until she finds herself in first class on the airplane on route to visit his family: a nest of vipers who cannot wait to judge, degrade, and deter her from marrying Nick.
Rachel’s most formidable foe, is Nick’s mother Eleanor played deftly by veteran Malaysian actress, Michelle Yeoh. Another huge obstacle is Nick’s grandmother, the family matriarch Ah Mah, played by Lisa Lu, brilliant and spry at an amazing 91 years old. Rachel has a few allies, including Nick’s stunning cousin, the glamorous Astrid played by British born Gemma Chan. Astrid is facing her own troubles with her handsome husband Michael (Pierre Png) who isn’t dealing well with the pressures of being married into the intimidating, “nothing is good enough” Young family.
Rachel’s greatest ally is a college friend from the USA who now lives back in Singapore, with her wildly colorful family. Every ROM-COM heroine needs a best gal pal, and here it is Peik Lin Goh, played by the hysterical Awkwafina. She steals every scene she is in, a star making role for sure. She has one of the funniest lines in the movie when she says, “Chinese sons think their moms fart Chanel No. 5.”
Romantic Comedies are typically hard to write, as it is difficult to sustain conflict and keep the leads apart. However this film does a great job of raising stakes and keeping interest, especially in the great third act, which is played out after an eye popping act two curtain twist. The story and the energetic performances will keep you engaged, but the gorgeous costumes, exotic locations, lush production design and mash-up modern soundtrack will mesmerize you.
Highly original, visually sumptuous, funny, relatable and full of gorgeous people, it’s everything a romantic comedy should be-actually it’s one of the best rom-coms in years.