Crazy Rich Asians
by Rachel Willis
When Nick Young (Henry Golding) asks Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) to be his date to a wedding in Singapore, she expects a nice, but simple trip to her boyfriend’s home. She’ll meet his family, and they’ll take an important step forward in their relationship. It’s what Rachel doesn’t know – that Nick is a member of a family known as “Singapore royalty” – that sets up the comedy and drama of Crazy Rich Asians.
Director Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel is an entertaining look at the culture clash that happens when Rachel attempts to fit in with Nick’s family.
“Crazy rich” is an accurate descriptor for Nick’s family and their class of friends. Born and raised in New York by a single, working mother, Rachel isn’t prepared for the ostentatious wealth that surrounds Nick’s family. Though proud of her life and career – economics professor at NYU – she realizes that she’s seen as an unremarkable outsider in this world of wealth and power, especially by Nick’s mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh – outstanding as always). Efforts to sabotage their relationship begin before Rachel even leaves New York.
There are a lot of characters in the movie. Too many, really, and the important side characters suffer a lack of necessary development. A second narrative thread involving Nick’s cousin, Astrid (Gemma Chan), and her husband, Michael (Pierre Png), never hits the stride it deserves.
But there’s a lot to like about the movie. Nick and Rachel rank among the best – and most realistic – rom-com couples. As Rachel’s friend Peik Lin, Awkwafina provides the film’s funniest moments. She’s also the dose of reality Rachel needs when dealing with the crazy rich. And despite being 120 minutes, long for a romantic comedy, the film never drags.
Crazy Rich Asians is the kind of fluffy, fun, romantic summer fare that will leave almost everyone satisfied.