Crazy Rich Asians

  • 01 Sep - 07 Sep, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

After much hoo haa, Hollywood is finally investing in churning out racial and gender diverse mainstream content. The change has been evident since last year’s Black Panther, Wonder Woman and Ocean's 8 (not counting Get Out, which was not a mainstream release and had only cost 4.5 million to make). Continuing on that road is this year’s Crazy Rich Asians. The movie costing 30 million and representing East Asians, adds its two cents to the movement of making better, racially inclusive movies for mainstream cinema.

Besides Crazy Rich Asians all three movies mentioned were big ventures. Black Panther and Wonder Woman belonged to the super hero genre, and Ocean’s 8 was a sequel to a big franchise; all three titles had that big push behind them.

This film while devoid of any such thrusts, belongs to a genre that’s been tried and tested over time: the romantic comedy that has with family drama as a side dish. It also has that buzz of being a predominantly Asian story with an Asian cast set in present time after 1993’s The Joy Luck Club (1993) (canceling Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of Geisha).

Crazy Rich Asians, starts off with an anecdote: when you racially slam the Young family, one of the richest of the rich of Singapore, they will buy out your business and become your boss. Yikes.

The Young family’s sole male heir, Nick (Henry Golding) has been living incognito in America. For a year he has been dating Rachel (Constance Wu), a NYU, Economics professor. Naturally, he is serious about her, so he takes her to Singapore to meet the family at his best friend’s wedding.

Rachel, is clueless till it hits hard on her head when her college friend (Awkwafina), who also lives in Singapore with her moderately rich family, tells her how rich and crazy Nick’s family are.

Rachel gets the whole picture when she meets Nick’s mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) – an elegant and regal woman, whose eyes clearly convey that Rachel does not deserve her son.

Director Jon M. Chu keeps the movie simple and lets the beauty of Singapore wash over the audience every few minutes. Written for the screen by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, the movie is adapted from first of three books of the same name by Kevin Kwan.

The best thing about Crazy Rich Asians is that does not try too hard to be funny, shifting between undramatic drama and comedy. The movie breezes through its almost 120 minutes length.

What it lacks is gravity and seriousness, which in turn made the movie too weightless. The cast consisting of East Asian and South East Asian actors, all do a fine job with Ms. Yeoh, bringing substance and dignity to her role. •