OK. I don’t do books, so wasn’t aware of the best selling book that Crazy Rich Asians the movie is based on. I don’t usually do rom coms either, but that only tends to be the ones where they’re the typical ‘boy and girl hate each other and are thrown together until they love each other’ type movies. But, I do love a movie that’s done well, regardless of genre, and as Crazy Rich Asians continues to receive much hype and success over in the US (I’m in the UK), I thought I’d better go and see what all the fuss is about. So, as part of date night with the wife, we decided to go check it out!
Now, for this movie I think the trailer nailed it in terms of what you see is what you’re going to get. And in my opinion, I’d say how you feel after seeing the trailer for this movie is a pretty good gauge for how you’ll feel about the movie as a whole. Personally, I watched the trailer and I didn’t think it looked that great. The story looked mildly interesting, there were some funny characters and some potentially great performances, but there was nothing in the trailer that grabbed me and stuck with me. And that’s exactly how I felt about the movie after I’d seen it.
The story centres around Rachel and Nick, both living in New York and having been dating for a while. Nick is due to head home to Singapore for his best friends wedding and has asked Rachel to join him. The opening scene of the movie, featuring Nick as a young child, gives us some insight into how much wealth and power his family possess. We also see how an innocent photo of Nick and Rachel talking in a bar quickly hits Singapore social media, setting thousands of tongues wagging and giving us a pretty good idea just how big a deal Nick and his family are over there. And how much of a talking point it is that Nick is dating a girl raised in America, rather than Asia. It’s only when they land in Singapore that Rachel realises the full extent of what she’s let herself in for.
Nick is part of a big, rich family, with each family member having their own set of problems and insecurities to deal with. I actually had trouble keeping track of who’s who for a while, but one thing this movie does do is allow sufficient time for all family members to be explored and for some particularly strong performances to blossom. Nicks mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) is the one that Rachel is out to impress though, and although she remains polite at all times, it’s clear that she doesn’t approve. I thought this was going to be a variation of the boy and girl hate each other at first theme that I spoke about earlier, and while it kind of is in a way, it doesn’t make for such a fun, easy ride like standard rom coms do.
For me, those strong performances I spoke about came from Gemma Chan as a millionaire cousin with an insecure cheating husband, and Constance Wu as Rachel. Michelle Yeoh is somebody we’re probably a bit more familiar with, and she was also outstanding as Nicks mother Eleanor. There are plenty of characters providing comedy relief and bringing the ‘crazy’ to the films title. Most notably Awkwafina as Rachel’s best friend and Ken Jeong, who seemed slightly subdued for once.
Overall I didn’t not enjoy this movie, but then I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped I would either. I laughed, I was entertained, but I felt the movie dragged and stumbled at times, and didn’t really elevate itself above just a standard rom com for me.