“Crazy Rich Asians” stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh. Released on August 15, 2018, the film is about a woman who discovers that her boyfriend came from one of the richest families in Singapore.
The film is directed by Jon M. Chu, who also directed films such as “Step Up 2: The Streets”, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”, and “Jem and the Holograms”. It is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. Believe it or not, we got ourselves another romantic comedy this week, and this time, it’s going down the international route. It has been more than two decades since Hollywood released a film that featured Asian-American actors in leading roles known as “The Joy Luck Club”, and with Jon M. Chu in the director’s chair, it looks like it is attempting to make history again. Chu’s filmography hasn’t done a whole lot to impress critics, with the 2015 adaptation of “Jem and the Holograms” being his disastrous, yet unfairly criticized, project to date. Seeing that I enjoyed some of his films, I was hoping that his latest film will turn his luck around. About a couple of days before its release, my hope has fully been realized as the reviews for the film came out to be very positive. After seeing it for myself, is it really that good?
One of the things I should give this film credit for is the cast. As I mentioned before, this is the first film that features an all-Asian cast in two decades and, for something like this, it deserves the right to be one. Not only were these actors very talented onscreen, but they also display their efforts in bringing a lot of charm into the film. Wu and Golding were impressive together as Rachel Chu and Nick Young, respectively. I haven’t seen Wu that very much on screen, although I have heard of her from the television series, “Fresh Off the Boat”. I thought she did a pretty good job with her role in “Crazy Rich Asians”, and I would like to see more of her sometime in the future. As for Golding, this is his first film debut after working as one of the presenters in “The Travel Show” on BBC, and I thought he didn’t do too bad. Michelle Yeoh also delivered a solid performance as Nick’s mother, a wealthy woman who takes an immediate dislike to Rachel. Awkwafina was suitable as Rachel’s best friend from college, but her attempt at providing some laughs wasn’t as rich as Scrooge McDuck. She had one or two moments that made me laugh, but everything else she did felt a bit forced or hokey. This leads to one of my issues of the film, and that’s the humor. For something that is described as a romantic comedy, it didn’t do a whole lot to provide a lot of humorous moments in the midst of its lovey-dovey situations. I guess it’s because I was expecting the film to be both hilarious and charming. It got the “charming” part right, but the “hilarious” part? Still needs work. The film also had a rom-com formula that we’ve seen multiple times before, which is understandable because, well, it’s a romantic comedy. It’s fairly predictable, and it can be a bit dull for those who aren’t into this type of genre to begin with. But if you don’t mind this type of flaw at all, then I think you’ll have a much better time with it. I personally thought the set designs and the visual flair were simply astounding. Jon M. Chu always knows how to make these types of representations, and this one is no exception. It’s sort of like being in a modern-day fairy tale, but with rich people.
Overall, “Crazy Rich Asians” is visually appealing and undeniably charming, but no amount of money can persuade me into giving it a higher grade. The cast and its set designs are the only qualities that made this film enjoyable for the rom-com fans and myself. It’s what I would expect from something like this, but it doesn’t change the genre entirely due to its predictable and sometimes dull formula and its underwhelming humor. I did have a nice time watching it, regardless, so that’s something that’s more rewarding than being rich.