Crazy Rich Asians is in cinemas, bringing to life the best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan for the big screen. Admittedly, I haven’t read the book but the film leaves a lot to be desired, even more so as there’s been a buzz about it since it was released. Frankly, after a recent viewing, I don’t see what the fuss is about.
The romantic comedy-drama directed by Jon M. Chu tells the story of Rachel Chu, an American-Chinese, New York University Professor, who accepts an invitation from her boyfriend, Nick Young, to attend the wedding of his best friend in Singapore. As they make their way to their destination, Rachel eventually discovers that Nick’s family is one of the richest in Singapore.
Faced with the pressure of dating the heir to a fortune, plus having to contend with competition from rivals vying for the attention of Asia’s most eligible bachelor whilst trying to win approval from Nick’s disapproving mother, Rachel finds it hard to keep up with all the ‘craziness’ around her. This is what ultimately makes up the core story of Crazy Rich Asians.
On paper, that plotline has a lot going for it, as one can see the intricacies a ‘foreigner’ has to face and navigate when facing traditional Chinese customs and protocols. But what we ultimately get on screen is an extended Singapore tourism advert filled with farcical characters.
A lot of scenes and character stereotypes in this film unnecessarily get dialled up several notches like the outlandish parties that unfold on screen plus the truly extravagant wedding near the end. Three quarters through the movie, I left it to the madness on screen to lead the way but unfortunately it didn’t make the film flow any better.
In fact during the Church’s wedding water scene, I was secretly hoping for that shark from The Meg to make a cameo appearance. At least that would have made up part of the admission for this movie. That and also, because The Meg actually had proper Asians in it.
Michelle Yeoh and a handful of others were the few who fit the ‘Asians’ tag in Crazy Rich Asians. If you closed your eyes for most of the movie just to hear the dialogue, you’d think it was an American-British production. Not that it matters much anyway, because the Asians depicted in the movie are strangely from just one single ethnicity. Not counting a couple of token south Asian gentlemen who played security in a ‘blink-and-you-may-have-missed-it’ scene.
Granted there are issues I took with the film but that’s not saying that Crazy Rich Asians is all that bad. It is somewhat watchable, but I would have definitely have preferred to watch it on a streaming platform like Netflix. Then I would have the option of spacing the film out or give up on it entirely, rather than having to sit through it.
To sum it up, this film can best be related to salted egg yolk flavoured popcorn, which oddly enough is a particular snack famous only in this part of the world. Most of you are familiar with it, some may even like it, but others think its shit. Pretty much sums up this movie in my opinion.
Popcorn Rating: Sweet & Salty with a weird after taste.