Monday, September 3, 2018

[Review] Crazy Rich Asians

The cast dazzles in Crazy Rich Asians, a blissful tour through luxury and excess, complicated romances, and the prickly pressures of family ties. It's like one big party.

The story begins in New York where meet Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a Chinese immigrant with a working-class background who has begun a career as an economics professor. Rachel and her charming boyfriend Nick Young (not to be confused with the NBA player), played by Henry Golding, plan a trip to Singapore to visit his family. Little does Rachel know that Nick's family is very rich. Like, crazy rich. Like, royalty rich. And well, his family doesn't take too kindly to her, especially his mother (played by an intimidatingly cold Michelle Yeoh), which makes things quite uncomfortable.

Directed by Jon M. Chu, the first thing you'll notice is the film's glamorous and grandiose settings -- from the elaborate mansions to the lavishly ornate ceremonies (there's a wedding scene that is quite exquisite, even for people who don't always like wedding scenes). There's definitely a Baz Luhrmann vibe to the ravishing aesthetics. It's all really visually appealing. As for the story, things start out on the fairly light and easygoing side, but the proceedings eventually dive into some juicy and not-so-classy drama that threatens Rachel and Nick's tight-knit relationship. And by this point, we're definitely rooting for them to pull through it.

And while the narrative doesn't necessarily subvert the usual rom-com and family saga tropes, it is delightful all the same, thanks to the brilliant cast. The two leads light up every scene with their glowing charisma and sheer likability, while the quirkier secondary characters add some decent comic relief, including some familiar faces like Ken Jeong and Awkwafina (Ocean's 8), as well as some not-so-familiar ones like Jimmy O. Yang and Nico Santos.

In the end -- with its wealth of fun, along with all its sentimental and cultural value -- Crazy Rich Asians is a multi-generational, multi-level event that is worth celebrating.

( 8/10 )

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