McCoy on Movies: Crazy Rich Asians

McCoy on Movies: Crazy Rich Asians

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Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel gets the Hollywood treatment. See why our critic says it’s “crazy well done.”

 

“So … Which of these accessories is going to make Lady Gaga jealous?” Rachel Chu (Constance Wu, right, in red) gets some fashion advice from her college best friend – and the secretly rich – Peik Lin Goh (Awkafina) in a scene from CRAZY RICH ASIANS. Credit: 

 

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Ken Jeong, Awkwafina, Lisa Lu, Ronny Chieng, Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Pierre Png, Jimmy O. Yang, Tan Kheng Hua, Remi Hii and Nico Santos

WRITER(S): Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim (screenplay); Kevin Kwan (novel on which the film is based)

DIRECTOR(S): Jon M. Chu

WEB SITE: http://www.crazyrichasiansmovie.com/

HERE’S THE STORY: Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians stars Constance Wu as Rachel Chu, a New York economics professor who’s happily in love with her Oxord education boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding in his debut feature film). So when Nick asks her to accompany him on a trip home to Singapore for the wedding of his good friend Colin (Chris Pang) to Araminta (Sonoya Mizuno), she happily says yes. And since she’ll be able to see her old college friend Peik (Awkwafina), Rachel is excited to visit the native land of her people since her mother Kerry (Tan Kheng Hua) left Asia before she was born.

That’s when she discovers that not only is Peik rich, but Nick’s family is really rich. Like, crazy rich – and Nick’s mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) is “old world” Chinese in both tradition and practice. 

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? People who enjoyed the novel; fans of people living lavish lifestyles the average person can only dream of; mothers and daughters looking for a good bonding movie; independent women; anyone of Asian descent searching for a major Hollywood film that features their people in a positive, entertaining light; those looking for a film that doesn’t play into the usual romantic comedy/race-centric tropes; Awkwafina fans

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People with no interest in Asian culture; those will find the slow parts in the film’s first hour too, well, slow; people who always say “the book was better;” people who think you have to be Asian to appreciate the film’s universal themes of love, acceptance and family

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? A movie that is essentially a classic love story with modern elements in a setting unfamiliar to many American audiences, Crazy Rich Asians is an entertaining, heartfelt romantic comedy that doesn’t break any new ground as far as romantic comedies go – but breaks plenty in just being a good movie.

Crazy Rich Asians features just about everything you could want in a story: Chemistry between its two leads and supporting characters that, well, save for one or two characters that might seem a like a toned down version of co-star Ken Jeong’s work in The Hangover, are not caricatures of Asians in American eyes. Whereas Wu and Golding (he of British-Malaysian descent) seem like a real couple, Awkafina and Nico Santos – who plays Nick’s fashion and family-conscious cousin Oliver T’Sien – steal every scene they’re in with their good-natured, perfectly timed and well-meaning quips. Likewise, whereas Yeoh plays the role of the seemingly icy family matriarch with a good duality to her like many a Marvel Universe villain – she’s is cautious to never operate at one extreme at any one time – and Gemma Chan plays her role as Nick’s beautiful yet personally suffering in her relationship with her husband Michael (Pierre Png) in a way that feels extremely real (and thus inspiring without going out of her way to be so). 

Beautifully shot by director Jon M. Chu as essentially a tourist agency’s dream video postcard for Singapore, the film presents some of the best visuals captured on film this year, acting as the perfect backdrop for the film’s characters to play, love and learn throughout their respective journeys. Throw in a soundtrack that interpolates classic American songs of various genres in native Asian tongues and Crazy Rich Asians is the type of film that will feel revolutionary when in fact it’s simply more evolutionary.

For given how solid the film is, hopefully Crazy Rich Asians marks the evolution of an industry that has long underserved the Asian moviegoing population but at the same time proves a movie like this can entertain anyone.

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

 

 

Tabari McCoy
Columnist - Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. An award-winning stand-up comedian who also works as the public relations director at Cincinnati Museum Center, Tabari McCoy is the creator of McCoy on Movies, a blog about movies for film fans. The blog is written by someone who also likes movies that is smart enough to know his opinion isn't always the right one but is willing to express that opinion in public. McCoy also used to review movies for his college paper and a major metropolitan publication, so that helps add to his "street cred." Contact him at tmccoy@cincychic.com. You can also check out more of his work on his blog at McCoyonMovies.BlogSpot.com and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy.

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