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Review: 'Crazy Rich Asians'

by David Grice 3 years ago in comedy

A New York native is taken across the world to Singapore to meet her boyfriend's family, where she is unaware of his wealthy background.

On the face of it, this definitely sounded like the film I would instantly avoid. The title is trying to be wacky, and the plot and trailer felt like a bog-standard rom-com flirting with the tone of Sex And The City or Entourage.

But after it receiving unprecedented box office sales and very positive reviews from critics in America, I felt compelled to be proven wrong and give this a chance.

The story structure is something we have seen before. But it was the comedy and character development that made me not care too much about that and just appreciate the films strengths.

It does play with tropes the you see from classic 90s rom-coms and even the screwball comedies of the 30s. But with the addition of Asian culture and a full Asian cast, it manages to have a refreshing quality to it that pushed my problems with it further away.

There are some nice segments in the first act that made great use of current technology and it was brilliantly portrayed on screen. It had a swift editing to it that instantly got me into the film.

In the film there is a major social event that everyone is building up, and it when it takes place on screen, it really is quite something that worth seeing on the big screen.

Even the final act goes down to routes we have countless times. But all that work director Jon Chu and his team made beforehand still made me feel all warm inside and happy how it ended.

The entire cast were brilliant and about 90 percent I had never heard of. The only ones I recognised were the always great Michelle Yeoh and Ken Jeong, famed for his role in The Hangover trilogy. Yeoh really showed her experience and still shows us how good she still is. Whereas as Jeong was briefly seen in this film and thankfully never over did it like he has done in more notable roles.

Constance Wu and Henry Golding were great as the two leads. Their chemistry was very strong, the romance between the characters was very believable and they both have a wonderful screen presence that makes it easy to root for them.

I finally saw what all the fuss was all about with Awkwafina. I briefly saw her in Ocean's 8 earlier this year. But she totally shone in this, was a wonderful support with a few scene-stealing moments and was a nice change of pace to the story every time she appeared on screen. I could say exactly the same for Nico Santos' character. It could have been over-the-top and generic and his character is one you see in a lot of rom-coms. But it was performed to a high-quality level, never stole the thunder away from the leads and did not feel like a cheap gimmick.

As well as the writing in the characters and comedy being major strengths for me, there were a few other aspects that were worth mentioning.

I liked the choice of music that was played in certain scenes. There is a lot of famous swing music, but sung in the native language. That for me felt like a homage to the classic films, which made me think that the story structure was more intentional than expected.

This kind of a strength, but this film will also make you hungry as there is a lot of Asian food being made or eaten on screen and you just can't help but crave them afterwards.

So while it may play out like a classic rom-com, its fun and emotional tone and the modern themes made me care for what was happening on screen. The performances was great, I like the way it moved, it was consistently funny with many top gags and the general story was very well executed.

With a film having the words 'Crazy Rich' in the title, you expect a lot of lavish items on screen. I was cautious about reacting to this, as I was fearing it may go down the Sex And The City and have me thinking, 'Why should I care about this obscenely rich people?' That is when the writing comes into play and made me invest into these characters as that it was the story focuses on instead of the background noise. I can now see why this is doing extremely in the box office.

I must mention that there is a mid-credit scene that apparently readers of the book series this film is based off will get. For other people like me, it's just a nice intriguing moment that opens the door for a sequel which I would happily check out.

Rating: 8/10


David Grice

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