CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Young American born Chinese economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) heads to Singapore to meet the family of her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding). On the way, she learns that Nick's family is 'old money' and lots of it. She is not any money and socially out of his class. Will she be accepted?
Review by Louise Keller:
The Singapore settings are eye-popping, the food looks amazing and the story is a mix of quirky, funny and romantic as it charts the impossible relationship between the handsome, sweet guy from the ultra-rich Chinese family and the pretty smart Chinese economics professor from New York. The plot might be predictable, but Crazy Rich Asians delivers wholeheartedly as a crowd-pleasing rom-com dressed up with sweet surprises and eye candy. The POV is exclusively Asian, albeit with a New York state-of-mind, while everything gels under the see-saw of ballast and froth within the constraints of its fantasy elements.
After a brief establishment prologue set in 1995 London, the narrative jumps to 2018 New York, where Henry Golding's Nick Young suggests to Rachel (Constance Wu), his girlfriend of a year, they head East for his best friend's wedding in Singapore. First class travel with Champagne, PJs and a double bed is the launch pad to a brand new adventure of discovery for Rachel, who finds herself deemed 'not good enough' for the heir apparent of what is essentially Singapore royalty. The focus is family: expectations and demands.
Singapore looks amazing with its beautiful orchids, sleek skyscrapers, fountains, boats and lavish lifestyle of the privileged. Don't watch this film on an empty stomach: you may get hungry. Wait till you see the mouth-watering street food, upmarket banquets and home made dumplings - just like Grandma used to make. Of course it's over the top with a bachelor party held in International Waters under a full moon with bikini babes, and the hens' get-together is a squealing affair on an idyllic island with shopping and spa. After all, we are talking about a $40million wedding and why wouldn't Rachel be a little intimidated by everything that is going on? Especially when confronted by the scrutiny of Nick's disapproving mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh, excellent). Take note of that huge emerald ring: it plays an important part in the proceedings.
Our journey is through Rachel's eyes as she discovers not only about the background of the man she loves but about her own strengths and principles. In his first leading role, Henry Golding makes a strong impression and his pairing with Constance Wu works nicely: there is real chemistry between the two. We believe in their relationship and the fairy-tale. Watch for the mahjong scene when Rachel and Eleanor come face to face - on Rachel's terms.
With its themes about family, commitment and knowing who you are, the film soars because while the situations are fantasy, the emotional issues are real. The laughs come from the many offbeat characters; we chuckle, cringe and cry with them. It's crazy alright, but lots of fun.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If the book is as good as the film, I want to read it ! It starts all flim-flam and multi coloured visuals, makes you smile and laugh until you're hooked and then it brings up the heavy guns of drama: broken loyalties, broken families, broken promises and broken hearts. Much of the film's success as entertainment actually relies on it being built on real drama; romantic comedies can't be all romance and all comedy, otherwise they float off and disappear.
The casting is astute: Constance Wu as the princess-like Rachel and Henry Golding as the impossibly decent Nick make a great romantic couple, and Michelle Yeoh (long time no see) turns in a nicely calibrated performance as Nick's strictly family mother. They are supported by a crowd of colourful characters ranging from the buffoonish Goh Peik Lin of Ken Jeong and Bernard of Jimmy O. Yang, to the sparkling Awkwafina and the amusing elderly aunts. And many more ...
The friction between Rachel and the Young family provides plenty of tension, but it is peppered with subtle and not so subtle humour, as well as physical gags. The snobbery of Chinese 'old money' is carefully handled, and the extravagance of the parties provides jaw dropping scenes of excess. But also of spectacular settings, from Singapore's city scapes to an idyllic hideaway on the water, surrounded by fairy land landscapes.
While the film is strictly entertainment, it has enough substance to keep audiences engaged and involved. You'd be crazy to miss it.
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CRAZY RICH ASIANS (M)
CAST: Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Jimmy O. Yang, Chris Pang, Sonoya Mizuno
PRODUCER: Nina Jacobson, John Penotti
DIRECTOR: Jon M. Chu
SCRIPT: Peter Chairelli, Adele Lim (book by Kevin Kwan)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Vanja Chernjul
EDITOR: Myron I. Kirstein
MUSIC: Brian Tyler
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nelson Coates
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 30, 2018