When I ventured to the movies to see Crazy Rich Asians, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, considering I had not read Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel beforehand. As the novel Crazy Rich Asians had gotten rave reviews, I wondered if director, Jon Chu’s, take was going to fulfill viewers’ expectations. Was it going to be another movie to add to the never-ending list of cheesy romantic comedies or a breath of fresh air? I found this film to be a mix of both. While Crazy Rich Asians was comedic, amusing and, overall, an enjoyable movie to watch, the plot was, in some scenes, very much predictable and impractical.
The film stars Constance Wu as Rachel Chu, a Chinese American economics professor at NYU and Henry Golding who plays Nick Young, Rachel’s Singaporean boyfriend. In one of the scenes in the very beginning of the movie, Rachel and Nick are eating in a New York City restaurant when Nick invites Rachel to Singapore for his friends wedding. A young Asian woman walks by both of them at this moment, overhearing their conversation. She, then sends out a text regarding Nick’s relationship status, which somehow manages to reach the entire population of Singapore in a matter of minutes. My first thought: I understand word spreads fast, but for word to reach an entire country’s population in this short period of time? Impossible.
Later in the film, as expected, Rachel discovers, whilst sitting in first class on her flight to Singapore, that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy. It’s hard to determine whether it is the script or the acting that makes this “reveal” scene so unrealistic. How is it possible, after dating someone for an entire year, to not know anything about their family background? Especially since later in the movie, it is made known that the Young family is actually somewhat “famous” in Singapore. After hearing the news, Rachel just asks a couple of questions about what Nick’s parents and siblings do for a living, but doesn’t venture to ask why Nick kept this secret from her. Her emotional reaction to finding out such a significant secret, did not seem very genuine to me. Perhaps, the director was trying to portray Rachel, who comes from a humble background, as a woman who is very much detached from anything materialistic. Even so, this scene could’ve definitely included more emotion.
Once arriving in Singapore, it is no surprise that Rachel has difficulties getting Nick’s family to approve of her. After being tormented by his family for the entirety of the trip, I kept wondering why she puts up with it for so long. Perhaps, Rachel and Nick, lack chemistry within the movie. As a viewer, I wanted to see the depth of their relationship, which I was never really given in any of the scenes, making their relationship appear very surface level.
While the film Crazy Rich Asians could be improved in some ways, I do believe that this film had certain qualities that made it very unique amongst other romantic comedies. Crazy Rich Asians serves as a cultural breakthrough for Hollywood. The strongest scenes, in my opinion were tied to culture, such as the opening scene, featuring Nick’s mother and her children. They enter into a London hotel, soaking from the pouring rain outside. Nick’s mother, after being insulted by the hotel manager, buys the hotel out right in front of him, shocking him to his very core.