BASED ON Kevin Kwan's best selling novel of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians is the highest grossing rom-com since the Sex In The City film, and the first Hollywood movie since Joy Luck Club with an all-Asian cast and director.
Kwan has spoke about the attempted whitewashing from other studios which tried to option the book, namely trying to recast the lead as a white American woman. It must be a great satisfaction for him to see the film do so well.
Rachel Chu (Constance Wu ) is a economics lecturer in NYU. She has been seeing her boyfriend for the last year, the English educated Singaporean Nick. When Nick asks her to come to Singapore for a friend's wedding, she agrees. Then on the plane, Nick reveals his family basically owns half of Singapore. Rachel, from a modest single parent background is about to step into a new world.
The cast are all great, but the best prefromance in the film, without a doubt, is the magnificent Michelle Yeoh, as Nick's mother Eleanor. Talk about actors with charisma, I don’t think there is a single working actor today who has more than Yeoh. You literally cannot take your eyes off her in every scene in which she appears. That said Wu holds her own admirably, eg, a confrontation during a game of mahjong is one of the best scenes of the year.
In the current climate in Ireland, with the housing crisis and having just come out of a recession, this kind of wealth fetishism can be really off putting. If you can put aside your feelings about that, there is a really enjoyable fun film here. If not, then Crazy Rich Asians is not for you. The wealth on display has an absurdity to it, the lifestyles so insanely luxurious they are as foreign to me as any sci-fi or fantasy film.
The film's only real flaw is that it is probably about 30 minutes too long. It was clearly a labour of love for the writers and directors, who have tried to fit in every storyline from the book - Nicks cousin’s husband having an affair feels a bit out of place and shoehorned in. Overall there is more going on here than just rich people porn. It is a clichéd story, but it is told with confidence and its charming leads allow you to enjoy it. It has a lot to say about cultural identity, inclusiveness, and how we feel about our ethnicity. Most of all though it is just really enjoyable and funny.