When I first saw this trailer, I dubbed this “50 Shades of Yellow.” Now, having seen the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, I realized that my comment was unfair.
The story of a famously rich man falling in love with a normal girl and them having a whirlwind relationship made me think this was similar to 50 Shades of Gray sans the S&M, but this film is much stronger, funnier and well crafted than the 50 Shades series.
It is also notable for having an entire cast of Asian descent actors. This is a major event for Hollywood that should be considered as socially important as Black Panther was in February.
Rachel (Constance Wu) and Nick (Henry Golding) were a couple living in New York, but Nick had to go home to Singapore for a wedding of his best friend. He decided that this was the perfect time to introduce Rachel to his family. The catch? Nick was truthfully Nick Young, a member of the Young family, incredibly wealthy and royalty-like, and Rachel had no idea. Unfortunately, Nick’s mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) took an immediate dislike of Rachel, not believing that she would be enough for Nick.
This is a typical rom-com, but there are some moments in here that truly elevates it above the genre. One of them is some of the fun and original characters that we meet along the way. Awkwafina steals every scene she is in as Rachel’s college buddy Peik Lin Goh. Awkwafina is just hilarious and you have not seen this type of character before. Ken Jeong is here too as Awkwafina’s father. His role is kept short which helps the shtick from becoming too old. Nico Santos was another actor whose performance as cousin Oliver was so much over the top it was fun.
The relationship between Rachel and Nick is very strong and enjoyable to watch. I like relationships on screen that feel as if they are worth rooting for and this pairing was definitely fun. It wasn’t even as if Nick had done anything wrong during their relationship that led to their separation, which is usually something that happens in rom-coms like these. It was one reason why, despite the ridiculousness of the situations, this felt like a real relationship that had some gravitas.
Both Constance Wu and Henry Golding are great in Crazy Rich Asians. I feel as if both of these actors have a positive career ahead of them after this movie.
The humor in Crazy Rich Asians works more often than it doesn’t and the story is a bit predictable, but the cast does such an admirable job with the material that you don’t realize this is all stuff that you have seen before. And the fact that the cast is fully Asian actors is not something that should be taken lightly. Crazy Rich Asians is an entertaining film that I had a lot of fun with.