Crazy Rich Asians
The romantic comedies phase lasted from the early 90s to the mid 2000s with great hits such as Love Actually, Notting Hill, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and Bridget Jones’ Diary. In the past decade the genre has died out, with directors choosing to go towards a more raunchy and R-rated type of comedy. However, Crazy Rich Asians proves to break through the recent rom-com dry streak while being a milestone for a Westernized Asian cast.
Crazy Rich Asians is adapted from the novel of the same name, and tells the story of Rachel (Constance Wu) an NYU professor who goes to Singapore to meet her boyfriend Nick’s (Henry Golding) family. It’s only then that she realizes that Nick’s family is immensely wealthy. The typical plot of “meeting the parents” ensues, with Rachel clashing with Nick’s overprotective mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh).
The most important thing to note about this film is that it is fun. The jokes all land thanks to a witty script and gifted performers who, having been sidelined in every other Hollywood project, get their chance to shine here. Constance Wu, who already broke out as a performer-to-watch in the ABC show Fresh Off the Boat, proves that she is more than capable of being the lead of a hit studio film as well. Her relatability to the audience is what hooks us to the story and her trials with Nick’s family.
The film follows the typical romantic comedy formula, but the hand of director John M. Chu allows for the subsequent scenes to not be predictable, the entertainment of each scene distracts any film snobs from looking ahead at what will happen. In fact by the time the film ends, you’re longing to be back with the characters. It’s even more admirable that such a wide array of characters was brought about with such depth in just two hours of running time.
Crazy Rich Asians proves to be a powerful statement of the bankability of Asian stars (even in my opinion audiences care about whether a story is entertaining, not the race of characters). The film flits between comedy and even emotional moments with ease. The commandeering performances from Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh surely shepherd this great rom-com into the annals of Hollywood history.