Riding high off positive word-of-mouth and an American box office run that has exceeded expectations, Crazy Rich Asians arrives in Australian theatres to, no doubt, emulate its abroad success.
The first studio-financed American film since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club to feature a predominantly Asian cast, this bubbly rom-com appears to have all the ingredients necessary to re-launch leading roles for Asian actors.
Whilst the story at hand may not be the most relatable on a surface level – the money and lavishness involved here is at a level most people could never reach – Crazy Rich Asians never completely glamourises the wealth of its characters, and whilst the Peter Chiarelli/Adele Lim-written script (based on Kevin Kwan’s novel) has its share of genre stereotypes – the ice-queen mother, the two-faced socialites – the film never buckles under the expected.
It also helps that as the film’s lead characters, modest-living economics professor Rachel Chu and her stupendously wealthy boyfriend Nick Young, Constance Wu and Henry Golding are suitably charming, both infusing their characters with heart, spine and soul; and in Golding’s case, mass sex appeal.
Michelle Yeoh as Nick’s mother manages to not completely descend into villainous territory, instead maintaining stern poise as the matriarch who can’t help but obey tradition, whilst Awkwafina and the stunning Gemma Chan inject respective humour and humility into the story as Rachel’s BFF and Nick’s understanding cousin.
A girl meets boy, boy turns out to be uber wealthy, girl feels unrefined amongst his family, boy promises to choose her over his family-type affair that we’ve visited before, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ may have a familiar base but there’s a fresh gloss that’s been applied that allows Jon M. Chu’s comedy to reign as a new wave for a genre that too often settles for mediocrity.
Crazy Rich Asians is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below: