Crazy Rich Asians review
How warranted are people when they claim that Hollywood is not diverse enough? It depends on what they're asking for. When someone says that characters within movies are not diverse, then that can be tricky as the actors have different jobs then the creators. They're merely hired to play people, and yet get the most critics if they don't fit the mold of whom they're playing. So should the blame be on the creators? That too can be unfair, as many movies have been made around different cultures that have been made by people of different backgrounds. My only opinion is that we simply need more people willing to step up to tell their stories rather then waiting for someone else to do it for them.
In the case of people of Asian descent, they've come far with stars like Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, and Lucy Liu being able to carry their own movies in America. I'll admit that there aren’t a lot of options for them (as it is for most that are not Caucasian), but again, it relates to more people that are willing to write stories for them to work on. In the case of Crazy Rich Asians, we have a full Asian cast, directed by John M. Chu, and based off a novel written by Kevin Kwan.
We center on a young couple, an NYU economics professor Rachel (played by Constance Wu) and the dashing businessman Nick (played by Henry Golding). They are both flying from New York to his home country of Singapore for a friends wedding. Nick is using this opportunity to introduce his family to her. As soon as they got on they plane, she realizes that with their first class upgrade, his family is wealthy. He admits that "their comfortable". Yep, we know anyone who says that is loaded.
Arriving in Singapore, Rachel finds that Nick's family is very power and…crazy rich. In fact, when Rachel visits her college roommate Goh Peick Lin (played by Awkwafina), she's given an expensive dress to wear for Nick's family get-together. Not only does she find he house huge with other wealthy families, but finds she's way out of her element. She even gets the sense that Nick's mom Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh) doesn't care for her, given her poor background and American personality. She spends the next couple of days proving to his family that she's more then worthy to be come a part of it.
Despite having a majority Asian cast and being set in Singapore, Crazy Rich Asiansmay have been the perfect story for a mainstream audience. That's because by being a fish out of water story, this allows our main character to be given explanation for traditions and customs of the family that live this lifestyle. However, the story itself isn't that complex. It's like a lot of romance comedies about meeting the significant other's parents (or just the mom in this case). Does it work in a crowded environment along with Guess Whose Coming to Dinnerand Meet the Parents?
Yes, this does work. A lot of it does thanks to it's really talented cast who manage to carry the overused story. Both Constance Wu and Henry Golding have a lot of chemistry together and seem like a couple you want to see together despite the mother's objection. Speaking of which, Michelle Yeoh gives just enough of a dominance that seems intimidating without becoming too much like an evil characters. Like a lot of people, I'll admit that actress Awkwafina gives out a lot of necessary comedy that kept my attention. She has a character that's so outrageous, that I wouldn’t mind seeing a spin off about her.
As I said, the story of meeting the other's parent is nothing new as long as something new is brought to the table. In terms of culture and lifestyle, this is a high-pressure environment that sees outsiders as a trespasser. It makes sense for Rachel to be shunned. It can lead into territories that seem out of place. There's a moment with a dead fish and another with a plane that feel like something out of different stories. Plus, I'll admit that while Nick is likable, he doesn’t seem to be trying as hard to stand up for Rachel. Yeah, he does follow her and tries to make her confortable; I wish the movie would have shown more of his interaction with his own family.
I'll give this four gongs out of five (trust me, there's a whole joke about this in the movie). This is going to have a long life in rentals and streaming. It may even be something I watch again in the future. If your not into romantic comedies, then this may not be for you. Otherwise, give a watch and experience something rich.