When it comes to standard issue rom-com territory, “Crazy Rich Asians” nears perfection. It’s impossible not to fall victim to the film’s abundant charms. I’d vote this one as 2018’s Most Likely to Become an Instant Classic, especially if you enjoy bubbly, feel good entertainment. This movie has quickly earned a place in my highest echelon of great modern romantic comedies alongside “Love Actually,” “While You Were Sleeping,” “Crazy Stupid Love,” and “Serendipity.”
Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, the story follows college professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Nick has kept a pretty substantial secret from his love — he is the eldest son of one of the country’s wealthiest families (and one of its most sought-after eligible bachelors). As native New Yorker Rachel navigates a foreign land, the close-knit community turns on her with a jealous, gossip-fueled rage. Nick’s mother (Michelle Yeoh) disapproves of the relationship, even going so far to tell Rachel that she will never be good enough for her son. The couple become tangled in a battle for true love or familial money, where either choice could have disastrous emotional consequences.
This film is absolutely delightful. It’s a terrific blend of romance, drama, and screwball comedy. It’s fun to long for the lifestyle of the obscenely wealthy, daydreaming about driving rare sports cars or dropping $3 million on a pair of diamond earrings. The movie makes being rich look fun, but also tiring. The characters are all likeable and feel realistic, and their struggles are universal to almost anyone who has ever been in love. The film takes its characters seriously, and it shows. These are far from stereotyped caricatures.
The chemistry between Wu and Golding is nothing short of enchanting, and there are many extremely funny jokes that are worthy of hearty laughter. The strong supporting cast (including Gemma Chan, Chris Pang, and Ken Jeong) effortlessly picks up the slack, including an uproarious turn from Awkwafina as Rachel’s goofy college friend. She proves herself a comedic force to be reckoned with.
I have very few criticisms for this movie because it sets out to create a breezy, lighthearted piece of escapist entertainment and exceeds all expectations. There’s nothing too serious and while far from being a deep thinkpiece, you have to evaluate this film for what it is: a real winner.