‘Crazy Rich Asians’ film review
By Chandler Walter, Contributor
I’ll start off by saying that I didn’t have high expectations going into Crazy Rich Asians.
I don’t know if it was my own distaste in the genre, the somewhat ableist title, or the hype that had seemingly been heaped on for the movie, but I figured it would be a fun, passable film that would be a great excuse for chowing down on a bag of movie theatre popcorn.
As my star rating probably spoiled, I was quite wrong about those assumptions.
Crazy Rich Asians is a well-told story of a woman struggling with two quite intricate dilemmas. The first is that she is going on a trip with her boyfriend to meet his family, whom, other than a few cousins, she has never met before. That is a situation we can all relate to—being invited over for dinner to the potential in-laws’ place and having to navigate your way around polite conversation with these strangers that you really want to like you.
Throw in Rachel’s second dilemma—Rachel Chu being our protagonist here, played by the wonderful and endearing Constance Wu—of meeting this family out in Singapore, where they all reside.
Rachel grew up in America after her and her mother immigrated from China, so she’s not the most versed in the customs that come along with her boyfriend Nick’s family. Add in the fact that they are, as the title suggests, super rich, and there’s an entirely new cultural divide for her to navigate.
I won’t get too into the nitty gritty as I want this review to remain as spoiler-free as possible, but what I can say is that the movie hits all the beats of a classic rom-com while still unravelling a story that feels like it really matters. Every scene is important enough to sprint back to if you have too much Coke halfway through the movie, and there are enough obstacles for the characters to overcome that the pace of the film never falters.
Toss into the mix the comedic additions of college-friend Peik Lin (YouTube star Awkwafina) and her oddball family (which includes none other than Ken Jeong—best known for his roles in Community and The Hangover) and you’ve got yourself a movie that delivers.
What puts Crazy Rich Asians apart from the other movies in the seemingly exhausted rom-com genre—other than the fact that it stars an almost entirely Asian cast and is killing it at the box office, but that’s worth another article in itself—is that it does not revolve around the “rom-antic” question. It is clear that Rachel and Nick love each other, and the tension in the movie comes from outside factors that threaten that love, which gets rid of the overused “will they won’t they” trope.
Plus, it’s cool to see what life is like when you’re Just. That. Damn. Rich. So go check it out