Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Language: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, French
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Jon M. Chu
Screenwriters: Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim
based on the novel by Kevin Kwan
Music: Brian Tyler
Cinematography: Vanja Cernjul
Michelle Yeoh 杨紫琼
Lisa Lu 卢燕
Kheng Hua Tan
Jimmy O. Yang
Harry Shum Jr.
Chieng Mun Koh
Ringing the changes of a time-honored rom-com template, Jon M. Chu’s CRAZY RICH ASAINS marks the high time for Hollywood to finalize its inclusivity plan to manufacture a crowd-pleaser banking on the Asian allure and exotica, and starring an entire Asian-faced cast.
After a rib-tickling prologue brilliantly sending up British snobbery as well as extolling the sheer might of fortunes, in a “MEET YOUR PARENTS” situation, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu, winningly mixing an unassuming quality with a faux-naïf front here), a present-day NYC economics professor, is wrong-foot when she is airborne en route to Singapore, to accompany her boyfriend Nick Young (Golding) to attend the wedding of his best friend Colin (Chris Pang), that Nick is the legit heir of a super rich family of old money. Although wildly unrealistic, the plot casually attributes Nick’s buttoned-up decision to his selfishness, it really doesn’t matter, because we are all keyed up to see our heroine stuck in her fish-out-of-water predicament, which is potently enhanced by Awkwafina’s first-rate comic foil and played out on the vast canvas of its distinct Southern Asia locality and customs. (Singapore and Malaysia in their most grand and swanky pomp, that rooftop infinity pool, anyone? An ostentatious wanderlust porn!).
Nonetheless, the rub here is down to cultural difference, Nicky’s mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh, stately and gracious, but not without a calculated sophistication and contempt that is superbly forbidding to anyone attempts some frivolity) doesn’t consider Rachel is the right match for her son, not on the condition that she is born without a silver spoon, but she is a born-and-raised American underneath her Chinese lineaments, it is the occidental American dream and the oriental family values that lock their horns in Eleanor’s perception, after some old dirt has been unscrupulously dug out to totally sabotage Rachel’s poise and confidence, she will eventually earn her respect through a typical Asian move in game theory, throwing away her winning tile in a Mah-jong game, to attest the sacrifice she is willing to do for Nick, love takes a back seat to a woman’s self-worth, a message rightfully pertinent to today’s ethos.
Based on the first novel of the chick-lit trilogy by author Kevin Kwan, CRAZY RICH ASIANS is a glittering, sleek modern fairy-tale sustained by a stimulating if none-too-original character arc, with its by-default stench of money dispersed in the periphery only. More significantly, its runaway box office success betokens a brighter future for Asian-minority’s mainstream presentation in the USA entertainment, with its sequel in the pipeline, one hopes the next chapter will add something zanier to its predecessor’s drawing room conventionality, dare to go “crazier” next round!