Entertainment » Movies

Crazy Rich Asians

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Aug 8, 2018
'Crazy Rich Asians'
'Crazy Rich Asians'  

One of the best crowd-pleasers in years, the new romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians" is also one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

Based on the bestselling book by Kevin Kwan, the film follows twenty-something New York University economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu, "Fresh Off the Boat") as she travels to Singapore for the wedding of her boyfriend Nick Young's (Henry Golding) best friend. Having never been to Asia before, Rachel is already going to be a fish out of water. But when she finds herself with first class airfare, she discovers her boyfriend isn't exactly the simple Chinese professor she thought he was.

In fact, Nick Young is somewhat of royalty in Singapore: The city's most eligible bachelor, he is also part of an uber-wealthy family of real estate developers. If that weren't stressful enough, Nick's mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) isn't too thrilled with Nick's mystery girlfriend being a "commoner," not to mention every girl in Singapore is jealous of her for snatching his heart.

Luckily, Rachel has an old college chum, "Peik" (a scene-stealing Awkwafina, "Ocean's 8"), whom she's able to visit and get the lowdown on what's happening around her. Peik's family is a bit nuttier than Nick's, but everyone is super "crazy rich" so it's not only that Rachel is in a city and country that is foreign to her, she's thrown into the middle of a lifestyle that is foreign to 99% of the world.

While the story of Rachel and Nick is -- at its core -- a tale about winning over family and finding her place among them, what makes "Crazy Rich Asians" so special and unique is the world we are privy to see. These aren't just rich families; they are incredibly rich, and live in a city that almost looks like it's out of science fiction. It's a fascinating playground made special by the writing, directing, and acting of everyone involved.

While Rachel, Nick, and Eleanor take center stage, we also get fairly in-depth looks at other characters, mostly from Nick's family. There's his sister Astrid (Gemma Chan, "Humans") married to Michael (Pierre Png) who is working at a start-up to make his own fortune, but uncomfortable with his wife's wealth. There's Nick's engaged best friend Colin (Chris Pang), who is one of the few voices of reason in his life. And there's Nick's obnoxious other brother Edison (Ronny Chieng), who is all about appearances.

These characters contribute to the colorful lives of our main characters and add to the familial drama and personal revelations that will explode in the film's two hour running time.

Directed by Jon Chu ("Step Up 3D") and written by Peter Chiarelli ("The Proposal") and episodic TV writer Adele Lim, the film is a delightfully produced confection of colorful characters, exotic locations, and over-the-top shenanigans that fascinate and delight in equal measure. As crazy as everything is, the story never fails to engage us because of the terrific cast and sparkling settings. It doesn't really matter that we've seen variations on this story before, because the cultural aspect of the film is what endlessly intrigues. There are a few situations and moments that might be lost on those not a part of Asian culture, but that just makes it more interesting.

The cast here is uniformly excellent. Wu plays it a little big at first, but her beauty and innocent charisma easily gets to our heart and makes us root for her to get the guy and win over mom. Golding is a total doll, both handsome and charming in that sort of perfect princely way. Yeoh plays the icy mother to perfection, but has moments that take us deeper into her past. And Awkwafina truly does almost steal the entire film as Rachel's best friend and whacky confidante. Even Chan as Nick's sister has layers that unfold over the course of the film, making her one of the more interesting characters in the film.

But it's the entire affair that makes this these crazy rich Asians work so well. There's the familiar American pop music sung by Asian pop stars, the sparkling cinematography, the massive sets and gorgeous costumes, and the chemistry of the entire cast make this such a remarkable achievement of something movie goers have needed for a long time: A feel-good, familiar comedy set in a world we've never seen before. It's a movie that will have you laughing, cheering, and crying in equal measure, and totally earns the impulsive applause audiences will give it when the credits start to roll.

With two other books in Kwan's series, here's hoping that we get more episodes of this entertaining, funny, and incredibly attractive group of characters the world will soon fall in love with.

Crazy Rich Asians

Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised to learn that Nick's family is extremely wealthy and he's considered one of the country's most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse -- Nick's disapproving mother.

Info

Runtime :: 120 mins
Release Date :: Aug 15, 2018
Language :: Silent
Country :: United States

Cast

Rachel Chu :: Constance Wu
Rachel Chu :: Constance Wu
Nick Young :: Henry Golding
Nick Young :: Henry Golding
Eleanor Young :: Michelle Yeoh
Eleanor Young :: Michelle Yeoh
Astrid Young Teo :: Gemma Chan
Astrid Young Teo :: Gemma Chan
Ah Ma :: Lisa Lu
Ah Ma :: Lisa Lu
Peik Lin Goh :: Awkwafina
Peik Lin Goh :: Awkwafina
Charlie Wu :: Harry Shum
Charlie Wu :: Harry Shum
Wye Mun Goh :: Ken Jeong
Wye Mun Goh :: Ken Jeong
Araminta Lee :: Sonoya Mizuno
Araminta Lee :: Sonoya Mizuno
Colin Khoo :: Chris Pang
Colin Khoo :: Chris Pang
Bernard Tai :: Jimmy Yang
Bernard Tai :: Jimmy Yang
Eddie Cheng :: Ronny Chieng
Eddie Cheng :: Ronny Chieng
Alistair Cheng :: Remi Hii
Alistair Cheng :: Remi Hii
Amanda Ling :: Jing Lusi
Amanda Ling :: Jing Lusi
Francesca :: Carmen Soo
Francesca :: Carmen Soo
Michael Teo :: Pierre Png
Michael Teo :: Pierre Png
Kitty Pong :: Fiona Xie
Kitty Pong :: Fiona Xie
Fiona Cheng :: Victoria Loke
Fiona Cheng :: Victoria Loke
Felicity Young :: Janice Koh
Felicity Young :: Janice Koh

Crew

Director :: Jon Chu
Director :: Jon Chu
Screenwriter :: Peter Chiarelli
Screenwriter :: Peter Chiarelli
Screenwriter :: Adele Lim
Screenwriter :: Adele Lim
Producer :: Nina Jacobson
Producer :: Nina Jacobson
Producer :: Brad Simpson
Producer :: Brad Simpson
Producer :: John Penotti
Producer :: John Penotti
Executive Producer :: Tim Coddington
Executive Producer :: Tim Coddington
Executive Producer :: Kevin Kwan
Executive Producer :: Kevin Kwan
Executive Producer :: Robert Friedland
Executive Producer :: Robert Friedland
Executive Producer :: Sidney Kimmel
Executive Producer :: Sidney Kimmel
Cinematographer :: Vanja Cernjul
Cinematographer :: Vanja Cernjul
Film Editor :: Myron Kerstein
Film Editor :: Myron Kerstein
Original Music :: Brian Tyler
Original Music :: Brian Tyler
Production Design :: Nelson Coates
Production Design :: Nelson Coates
Costume Designer :: Mary Vogt
Costume Designer :: Mary Vogt


Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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