Crazy Rich Asians (PG-13)

Starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy based upon Kevin Kwan’s globally best selling trilogy of novels (2014, 2016 and 2017, from what I could figure out) about a young Asian-American woman who is swept away to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family during a family wedding. Their relationship is tested when truth bombs start to fall all around them.

Not since The Joy Luck Club have we seen an English-speaking Asian cast in a movie on an American screen in a feature film. That was 25 years ago. Doesn’t improve the quality of the movie one bit, but you better believe Asian people and those who identify with them and/or appreciate their various cultures are excited, and this film will be supported and make buckets of money. A sequel is probably already in the works as I type, I’m sure.

I enjoyed seeing the landscape and culture of Singapore. That street food made me want to book a flight right then and there! The music is enjoyable and fun. Some of it is even familiar. Witnessing the warmth and traditions of this imperfect family who love one another very much was lovely.

Along with its “unique” Asian perspective, Crazy Rich Asians delves into all of these contrasts between East and West, traditional ways vs. non-traditional ways, traditional culture vs. “Westernized” culture, the older generation vs. the newer generation, that helped to make the story interesting to watch. The problem is, that despite these interesting themes, the content of the movie includes too many cookie cutter moments where the two main stars could have been swapped out for Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts or Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, or whoever (take your pick from a litany of American rom-com stars) in any romantic comedy you’ve ever seen before. In all fairness, I’ve never read the books, so I don’t know if how it played out on film follows the story as written or deviates, but I would be interested to find out.)

…But such is the trouble with rom-coms and why Hollywood slowed down with the making of them every few weeks or months, or at whatever ridiculous clip they were being produced. It is a difficult, if not an almost impossible task, to make romantic comedy feel “fresh” because the story usually follows the – boy meets girl or girl meets boy, boy loses girl or girl loses boy, boy wins girl back or girl wins boy back – formula, over and over again. That’s the standard template. Change the locations/landscape, seasons, ethnicities, family dynamics, cultures – and there is always the same story beneath it all.

In the case of Crazy Rich Asians, while you get more of the same, the story is a bit more dramatic because of what is at stake and what is revealed; and the reaction is a bit more appropriate because there is more going on here than just losing a boy. Still, you know the drill and although you’ve been here before, somehow you don’t mind going along for the same ride again.

The acting is quite good, particularly from the elders in the family. The aunts, the grandmother, the potential mother-in-law to be, all play their respective roles well. These are very strong actresses whose work I want to look into further. (I do love a good foreign language film from time to time.) It felt good to see Lisa Lu still doing her thing. If you’re unfamiliar and want to know who she is, look her up after seeing the movie. (AFTER, I said!) I was captivated whenever Awkwafina and/or Nico Santos were on screen. Together, they sort of steal the show and provide the majority of the comic relief.

The writing is pretty good, but one large question about a big moment was left unresolved, and I still want to know who did it! I know it isn’t supposed to matter, but I’m petty like that. Name a name!

Crazy Rich Asians earned 7.5 bloops out of 10. It is a good movie worth seeing. If you’re more of a fan of the romantic comecy genre than I (Not that I’m not a fan – they are just all quite predictable and I have to be in the mood, like on a snowy Sunday afternoon, alone in my pajamas with some Thin Mints and a pint of Haagen Dazs Caramel Cone, to be specific. Yuuummmm. – Apologies. I’ve actually been eating Keto for the past few weeks and I got waaay distracted for a second there!), you will certainly enjoy it more. If you’re Asian and/or appreciate Asian culture, or have ever traveled East or to Singapore specifically, you may like it even more. I get it. I know that just seeing people who look like you or with whom you identify on the big screen feels good. The resurgence of Asian-cast movies has been a long time coming and if Kevin Kwan has anything to say about it, it will not take another 25 years before it happens again! Kudos Mr. Kwan! Kudos!

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

At this point, I’m just waiting on The Predator

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