Crazy Rich Asians
Review: 3 stars out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
Crazy Rich Asians is a 2018 romantic comedy directed by Jon M. Chu. Screenplay by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim. Based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel of the same name. The film stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh.
Having discovered her fiancé’s family is one of the richest families in Singapore, Rachel Chu has to navigate the intricate power dynamics of the super rich.
I haven’t seen a romantic comedy in quite some time, so much so in fact I forgot what makes them enjoyable. Whether it’s the beautiful locations, the melodrama, or the inevitable cheesy ending, Crazy Rich Asians hit all these hallmarks. Crazy Rich Asians also has the advantage of being fresh for audiences. An all Asian cast placed in Singapore and revolving around modern Asian culture, 3 distinct things that are not going to be familiar to most western audiences; and that is where so much of this film’s strengths come from, it feels genuine. Maybe even more importantly, it’s actually funny.
Crazy Rich Asians had an interesting production history that I would directly attribute to this film’s success. By securing funding from outside the US, and optioning the original story for $1, Kevin Kwan retained strong creative control over the adaptation of his book. Kevin’s pursuit to bring an all Asian cast to the big screen and create a film culturally significant to Asians is laudable. Even turning down a seven-figure payday from Netflix, Kevin was directly responsible for this films success and cultural impact.
I can’t claim to have an understanding of Asian culture, but I can say the portrayal of Asian culture in this film was wildly entertaining. Every bit of this film was turned up to eleven, and the glitz and glamour never stopped being entertaining. The sets were beautiful and really did justice to showing how unique Singapore is. With the titular character being Asian American, there is a lots of drama played off of this fact. At times, romantic comedies can slog around halfway through, but the film stays pretty consistent in quality.
Crazy Rich Asians might be a high point for me in the romantic comedy genre, but some of my usual gripes of the genre are still present. Flashy and wild parties are fun to see, but that makes up a bulk of the films plot. Frequently the film defaults to trying to be all fun and games; I would of liked a bit more fleshed out drama. Maybe asking for more depth from a romcom is the wrong mindset to have, but without a doubt Crazy Rich Asians make a great date night film.
Funny, endearing, and novel, plenty of reasons to make the trip to see this film. Crazy Rich Asians brings fresh ideas and solid execution to the romantic comedy genre. Now if romantic comedy is a steer clear for you, I don’t see that changing for this. It hits all the usual beats and is very predictable in that regard. Nonetheless, If you are looking for a fun date night movie, or for a wild destination wedding without the price tag, Crazy Rich Asians is worth the price of admission. Rated PG-13 2h1m