Meeting The Boyfriend's Affluent Family: Crazy Rich Asians
Rachel Chu has a good life in New York. She's an economics professor at NYU and dating colleague Nick Young. In Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel (Constance Wu) accepts an invitation from Nick (Henry Golding) to accompany him to Singapore to attend the wedding of Nick's friend Colin Khoo (Chris Peng), where Nick will also be the best man. Nick, though, talks a little too modestly about his family's finances. When Rachel arrives in Singapore, she learns that Nick and his immediate family are hugely successful in business. When these folks celebrate the upcoming wedding, they have an extravaganza held in several locations. While Nick goes and celebrates with the men, Rachel joins Colin's fiancee Araminta Lee (Sonoya Mizuno) and the other ladies for shopping and spa treatments. While most of Nick's acquaintances accept Rachel, someone accuses her of being a gold digger.
Nick's older family members also have a dim view of Rachel. Even though they are steeped in money, they are also steeped in tradition. Nick may be fond of Rachel, but his mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) and grandmother Shang Su Yi (Lisa Lu) aren't very impressed as Rachel struggles to show the elders the respect they want. Rachel's college friend Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina), who returned to Singapore following her American education, helps her to fit in to these surroundings a little more easily. The impending nuptials help to give Nick an idea that he'd like the same sort of future with Rachel. Rachel had talked about a childhood where she had been raised by a single mother, but Eleanor and Su Yi discover there's more to Rachel's story than she tells. The details that Rachel never knew make her an unfit match for Nick in their eyes. They issue an ultimatum to Nick regarding his wishes for the future.
Crazy Rich Asians, which is based on a novel by Kevin Kwan, certainly lives up to its name, especially when the professors land in Asia. Nick's family is rich, and they flaunt their wealth. Opulence abounds, and is at its height in a wedding sequence unlike any I can recall seeing. The film follows the conventions of romantic comedy, in spite of the situation in which these characters live. It's generally fun to watch these people and their high-priced antics, but not everything is fun and games. In addition to the scrutiny of Nick's mother and grandmother, viewers also get a glimpse of a strained marriage involving Nick's cousin Astrid (Gemma Chan) and her workaholic husband Michael (Pierre Png). Each blames the other for their troubles, and each has a point. Before this film, I had never seen a film of director Jon M. Chu. His credits include several sequels (including Step Up 2, Step Up 3D, and Now You See Me 2) and the infamous Jem And The Holograms, which was pulled from movie houses due to poor box office performance. Chu certainly fares better here as he presents likable characters making the most of a time of celebration.
Wu is known to many as the driven Asian immigrant mother on Fresh Off The Boat, but she shows a different kind of determination here. Rachel knows she can't fly in the face of tradition, but she does show Eleanor that decisions come with risk. In spite of the mistakes the elders see, Rachel is prepared to accept a decision she may not like. The skill she shows her students in her game theory class come in handy during the acquaintance progress. This movie marks the first film appearance of Golding, who, like Wu, has appeared on the small screen previously. He is handsome and charming as Nick, who had been trying to make a name for himself apart from his money. Money may have given Nick any thing he wanted, but Rachel is the love of his life. Awkwafina is funny as Peik Lin, Rachel's old friend who guides Rachel through life in wealthy society. As they attend one function, Peik Lin opens the trunk of her sports car, revealing several different outfits. Yeoh and Lu are fine in support, as is Ken Jeong as Peik Lin's father, Goh Wye Mun.
Crazy Rich Asians is an enjoyable comedy about life and love among people who never have to worry about running out of money. Yet, one family treats a young man's fiancee as if she weren't worthy of inclusion in their exclusive circle, in spite pf his wishes. Rachel Chu doesn't know her way around this exclusive circle, but she wants to find a way to get on the good side of the Young family. She gets to know those around them, and they accept the professor as Nick's beloved. In spite of their acceptance, they're not on control of the main issue. Rachel and Nick may love each other and wish to walk the altar, but they need to come to an understanding with his family. That is easier said than done when Nick's elders have their reservations. Rachel, however, puts a plan in motion to hope they will consider their loved one's wishes and happiness.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Crazy Rich Asians three stars. A journey to a new world.