Crazy Rich Asians is as good as it is lavish and provides a much-needed jolt to the romantic comedy genre. Based on Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name, the movie explores relatable themes from a unique, insightful, and funny perspective. Crazy Rich Asians will have you laughing and crying simultaneously and will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling you won’t be able to shake for days.
When Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) agrees to accompany her longtime boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore, she has no clue what is to come. Turns out, Nick belongs to one of the wealthiest families in Asia. When Nick’s mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), and others in her social circle disapprove of the relationship, Rachel must overcome numerous obstacles in order to prove her worth.
I tried (and failed) to finish the novel before seeing the movie, but I did read enough to get a feel for each of the main characters. The movie’s translation of Rachel’s college roommate, Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina), is inspired. Awkwafina steals the show in every scene she’s in. She’s outrageous, brutally honest, and unabashedly flaunts her wealth. In fact, the whole Goh family is ridiculous in the best way, including Peik Lin’s father, Wye Mun Goh (Ken Jeong). While feeding his kids chicken nuggets, he satirically says, “There are starving children in America.” The whole audience laughed out loud and proceeded to laugh any time any of the Goh family was on-screen.
Something that was harder to translate from the book to the movie is Nick and Rachel’s romance. In the book, you’re provided a better picture of their life together in New York City much more than on-screen. As a result, the movie’s portrayal of their relationship comes across as two-dimensional. Fortunately, the chemistry between Chu and Golding is palpable. There’s a moment during his best friend’s wedding ceremony where Nick and Rachel lovingly stare at one another. It’s a sweet reminder to both the couple and the audience as to why Rachel is putting up with Eleanor’s behavior—she and Nick are each other’s futures. The movie’s portrayal of Astrid (Gemma Chan), Nick’s favorite cousin, also felt two-dimensional. She was my favorite character in the book; however, in the movie she’s less prevalent. I also think the movie could have played up the parallels between Rachel and Nick’s relationship and Astrid and her husband’s. Still, I enjoyed Astrid—and her legendary wardrobe— being brought to life on-screen.
If you’re a true fan of the romantic comedy genre, go out and see Crazy Rich Asians. It had everything I was looking for and much more.