This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend's family. (from IMDB)
It's a curious thing when certain films become unexpected hits. For Kevin Kwan's book, Crazy Rich Asians, it's one of those quirky out-of-left-field films that just kind of surprises audiences and wiggles its way into the hearts of moviegoers. Crazy Rich Asians isn't your typical rom-com either, although it has some of the things you've come to expect from the genre for sure, but it's more or less the kind of ethnic romp that almost feels like this generation's My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Romantic comedies are tricky in that they often alienate the male audience, but I've always felt like a good romantic comedy is for both sexes. And a good romantic comedy should actually live up to the expectations of being both romantic AND funny, and not just one or the other.
Crazy Rich Asians takes viewers into a stereotype-smashing culture where Asians are literally "crazy rich," residing in places like Singapore and Malaysia. The story is Sabrina-esque, where the lead girl, Rachel - charmingly played by Constance Wu - comes from a modest family, while her boyfriend is actually from one of the wealthiest Asian families in the world... but she doesn't know it. When he takes her to meet his family, she's in for the culture shock of her life as she has to deal with the bigotry of his mother and the snobbery of others in the community.
While Crazy Rich Asians deserves props for being a quality production that is a rare all-Asian production coming out of Hollywood, its story feels surprisingly familiar. The rich-and-poor-clash tale is anything but fresh and new, but Crazy Rich Asians does a good job of making it feel fun and unique, even if it does have frequently familiar plot beats. The characters, performances, and even the film's style are what propels it forward and raises it above standard fare. (Think Ocean's Eleven meets The Proposal meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding). But in the end, you're likely to feel like "hey, that actually reminds me of...." but you probably won't mind that much.
The content is especially PG-13, although at times it doesn't feel like it would be. There's a sweetness to Rachel and Nick's relationship, but they're often surrounded by some crass characters, like the horny party animal Bernard, or the PDA-abusing moviemaking couple that can't stop making out in public. And then there's Ocean's 8's Awkwafina who plays Peik Lin Goh who frequently swears casually and super swiftly drops the "F" word in one scene. There's no nudity in the movie, or gratuitous sex scenes, but we see some characters making out, and sex is implied in a couple scenes that take place in bedrooms (and the scene ends before it goes past some passionate kissing). We also learn that a married man is cheating on his wife at one point. There is frequent drinking at parties, and implied drug use by the aforementioned Bernard, while one shockingly graphic scene has a character finding a disemboweled fish in their bed with fish guts and blood all over the sheets and window behind it.
Crazy Rich Asians may not be the laugh-a-minute romantic outing some have hyped it up to be, but it is a cut above its kind in its genre. And while aspects of it may remind you of other films and stories, other traits of the film make it feel like you've never seen a movie like this before. Perhaps the hype raised my expectations to unreachable heights, but while Crazy Rich Asians is enjoyable, it's hardly one of the best of the year, but fans of the genre may still want to check it out.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 11/21/18)
Crazy Rich Fun (7:18) - Director Jon M. Chu talks about the book and how inspired he was by it to make this film. This featurette also addresses how the film aimed to break boundaries for Asians and get rid of stereotypes. It also covers the film's casting and the different cultures represented by the story. (1 "Oh my G-d")
Gag Reel (1:47) - This silly gag reel features some ad-libs, line flubs, and some bleeped out cuss words (as well as a few crude jokes). It's mostly just the cast goofing off on set, though. (1 "b*tch")
Deleted Scenes (12:08) - There are seven deleted or extended scenes. "Karaoke" takes place right after Rachel dismisses her students from class. We see her at a bar with a friend, and then she's forced to do karaoke. (But the scene cuts before she sings. 1 "S" word) "Shopgirl" is an extended version of the scene where Rachel and her mom are dress shopping. Here, the saleswoman is especially rude to Rachel's mom. (1 "Oh my G-d") "Exterior Singapore Airport" is a cute little scene of Nick and Rachel teasing each other outside the airport. "Nick and Mom Fight Over Rachel" is a game-changing scene that takes place near the end of movie. Here, it looks like his mom still needed convincing to approve of Rachel after her final showdown with her. In a heartbreaking exchange, Nick tells his mother that all he'd ever wanted from her was for her to be there for him. "Arrival at Bachelor Boat Party Extended" shows more glamour shots... and bikini butt shots. (1 "b*tch, 1 "*ssh*le") "Medevac" reveals how Nick and his brother escaped the party boat. A Medevac arrives and takes them out after the groom fakes being sick. Finally, "Wedding Dance" introduces a future love interest for Astrid, and shows her dancing with a young guy. It's the same guy she flirts with at the end of the final cut of the film, so this scene kind of sets all of that up better.- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 11/21/18)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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