The rom-com ain’t dead yet.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is a defibrillator for a genre that flat-lined ages ago. This heart-warming, well-acted — and decadent — film takes you back to the greatest hits of Nancy Meyers, Richard Curtis and Nora Ephron.
Rachel (Constance Wu) and Nick (Henry Golding) are a handsome New York couple. She’s a young, Chinese-American economics professor at NYU, he an average Chinese dude who plays basketball at the YMCA and watches Netflix.
But when they jet off to Nick’s Singapore family home for his best friend’s wedding, Rachel discovers her beau is heir to one of the biggest real-estate fortunes in Asia.
Once the action moves to Singapore, “Crazy Rich Asians,” based on Kevin Kwan’s book, really gets rolling. There are a many “Welcome to high society!” movies, from “Arthur” to “The Princess Diaries” to “The Beverly Hillbillies.” But rarely are different cultures explored. For Rachel, fitting in takes more than just having a beefy bank account, it means understanding a whole new book of rules and etiquette.
“Pursuing one’s passion … how American,” says Nick’s mom, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), channeling a Siberian winter. She’s referring to Rachel’s love of work — and her son.
Rachel wanders through a wonderland of no-holds-barred extravagance, where materialism is spoken as widely as the Mandarin of Nick’s family. Everything in “Crazy Rich Asians” — the first class-flight, the jewelry, the high fashion, the mansions, the sports cars — seems impossibly luxurious. Watching the movie is like having a cooler full of Beluga caviar dumped over your head.
Director Jon M. Chu, whose lesser past credits include “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “Justin Bieber’s Believe,” has brought together a killer cast.
Wu and Golding make a fine couple, with the right amount of intellect and vulnerability. Helping Rachel navigate the tricky ways of Singapore is her college pal Peik Lin, boisterously played by the eccentric Awkwafina. The actress is a combination of Reba McEntire, Suze Orman and Mountain Dew. And Gemma Chan is stunningly gorgeous as Nick’s sister, Astrid, a Real Housewife of Singapore. Astrid’s plot-line involving a negligent husband, however, is not the flick’s best.
Still, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a preposterously fun movie that delivers exactly what its title promises.
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