I Write These Movie Reviews Locked in the Trunk of Your Car. Thanks for the Snacks!!
Jon M. Chu
Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim
Full disclosure if you didn’t already know- (whispers) I’m Asian.
Without giving you my full biography, I’d say I lived in a pretty typical Asian household. I remember I got a B+ when I was 7 and my parents stuffed me in an oven, turned the heat on, left me cooking and only turned it off before I was burned too badly (my elbows and shoulders and knees still have burn marks…so do my toes and most of my fingers and ears…and my back is pretty much char). Typical Asian family.
Just think what would have happened had I failed everyone by getting a B.
That’s why I’m totally unqualified to review CRAZY RICH ASIANS since I’m triggered every time I see “Too many” Asians onscreen. My reasoning: Why the f*ck would I want to see Asians in the movies? It’s way too much like my life. I’d rather see more white people. Bring on the white privilege!
If you’ve seen one fish-out-of-water, culture clash, generation gap movie, you’ve seen them all, but Crazy Rich Asians shows you something that you might not have seen onscreen: actual Asians playing the leads. You can count on one white finger the number of movies where Asians play the leads and the movies didn’t involve somebody learning Kung Fu. There’s the Joy Luck Club and The Joy Luck Club and The Joy Luck Club.
Rachel (Constance Wu, Hustlers) and Nick (Henry Golding, A Simple Favor) are your typical Chinese couple in love. She’s an Economics professor and he’s mysterious and for the very first time he’s asked her to meet his family. He’s going back to his hometown to be the best man at his best friend’s wedding.
Nick’s hometown just happens to be in Singapore and being a super-smart Econ professor, Rachel realizes they’re traveling first-class. What else is Nick not telling her? She knows about his fetish for tentacle cartoons. What else could it be?
Turns out, a lot. You see Nick, is Nick Young, THAT Nick Young from the Young family in Singapore that own pretty much everything Singaporean. Rachel was raised by a single mother, made her way on her own and became the youngest Econ Professor in NYU History, a very Western mentality that will no doubt clash with the Everything-For-The-Family Young ways.
Rachel and the Audience meet the Young Family and soon we’re all making egg rolls together. There’s –
- Astrid (Gemma Chan)- She’s Nick’s sister and a fashion icon in Singapore. She’s also somewhat ashamed of being rich. She also has a husband that may be cheating on her.
- Oliver (Nico Santos) - He’s a gay cousin and his only real character trait is that he’s super flaming. For a movie that dispels a lot of Asian Stereotypes, you’d think they would make the movie’s only gay character less of a caricature.
- Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh, yo)- She’s Nick’s disapproving mother. I say “Disapproving” mother like there’s any other kind of Asian mother.
- There’s about 5 or 6 more characters, but I really couldn’t tell them apart because they all look alike. That’s not racist, I can’t tell my cousins apart either.
Will Rachel prove she’s good enough to be with Nick? Or is she just too much of a Western banana to properly fit in? Will Nick man up, stop being a little bitch and stand up to his domineering mother? You will find the answer if you watch the entire movie and not leave in the middle.
What Works With Crazy Rich Asians
- Last seen not doing anything in Oceans’ 8, rapper Akwafina steals every scene she’s in as Rachel’s college friend Peik Lin. Whenever the movie needs a dose of comedy, Peik Lin shows up and pit bulls her way into a laugh. Luckily, director Jon M. Chu (Jem and the Holograms, Now You See Me 2) reins her in so she doesn’t get into the Melissa McCarthy realm of overbearing.
- Speaking of overbearing, Ken Jeong is one of the most annoying unfunny screen presences this side of Zach Galifianakis so it’s one of Crazy Rich Asians’s biggest strengths that he’s barely in the movie.
- American Pop songs sung in Chinese.
- A busting of Asian female stereotypes is refreshing to witness. You rarely get to see one strong female Asian character in a movie, much less 3. Even the main male character Nick isn’t as well drawn compared to Rachel or even Astrid. Crazy Rich Asians might not pass the Bechdel test, but it comes pretty close.
What doesn’t work With Crazy Rich Asians
- As the disapproving Asian Mother, Michelle Yeoh isn’t given much to do besides furrow her brow and glare at Rachel.
- For most of Crazy Rich Asians, you get the basic outline of a typical romcom without most of the glaring clichés…except for the end. If there’s any place you DON’T want to set the climax of a romcom, it’s a ______.
Crazy Rich Asians gets a B/B+. On the Asian grading scale that’s a complete failure, but if you’re not a f*cking lunatic about grades, then Crazy Rich Asians is a pretty good movie. If you see one movie about race and racial Stereotypes, see Black Klansman, but if you see two, then see Crazy Rich Asians.