Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Pssst, want to check out Crazy Rich Asians in our new look?
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Worth the ticket admission price solely because "It's not my job to make you feel like a man. I can't make you something you're not."
I'm filled with ambivalence toward Crazy Rich Asians. First, I hated the title from the word go, but at the same time, I'm totally for better representation for minorities in movies. The fact that this was a hit book and now a hit film is great. But is it GOOD? After all, I don't care what ethnicity they are, the hardships of filthy rich people doesn't do much for me, especially in the context of melodrama, which is a genre that has difficulty reaching me. So the gorgeous locales, the opulence, that's somebody else's fantasy, not mine. (However, I would eat all of the foods shown, possibly even a couple of cushions.) The subplot about the top model's marriage, for example, was an artifact from the book. Really unnecessary to the thrust of the film, even if some elements echo the protagonist's situation. I most liked the comedy of Awkwafina and Ken Jeong (could have used another scene with him), but they seem to belong to an entirely different movie. But then you also have Michelle Yeoh, a real powerhouse in this film, as the mother who doesn't want her son to marry beneath her. The film smartly sets up the irony of this early on, and never hits us over the head with it. It makes Yeoh's character that much more complex. But while there is some good and efficient writing in CRA, it's also replete with the most hackneyed romcom clichés (a run to the airport, really?!). What saves it on that score is that it's all taking place in a non-American culture, which gives everything a slightly different bent and keeps our interest. And it has heart. Constance Wu is an effecting presence, and both her and Yeoh, in very different ways, managed to wet my eyes. So yes, often cheesy, and it could have shed some of the book, but it also manages not to over-explain itself and finds, in at least the parental relationships, a truth that transcends culture, and yet feels specific to this one.
Nothing amazing, but it is super enjoyable. Go glad we're getting some awesome Asian representation in film now as well.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!