Horrorible Review: “Crazy Rich Asians”

Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!

Crazy Rich Asians movie poster

Crazy Rich Asians

First of all I’d like to say that the trailer for the newest version of A Star is Born is probably the best ever. Just wanted to get that off my chest. Also, I want to be right up front about Crazy Rich Asians and say I was prejudiced against these people right from the start. I have a really difficult time working up sympathy for the uber rich – people who spend forty million dollars on one wedding. Lastly, I’ve never been big on the Cinderella story, though the Disney animated version is very pretty. Even as a little girl I never understood why she always needed to be coddled and waited for good things to happen to her.

There is a fair amount of diversity if you’re not looking solely at race. The Cinderella, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat) is a university professor in New York City where she grew up, her fiancé Nick Young (Henry Golding, Extra, Entertainment Tonight) is a surprisingly not buff heir to the trillion dollar throne of a Singapore-based real estate monarchy, and his mother, the family matriarch is played perfectly by Michelle Yeoh (Star Trek: Discovery, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon). She gives us a perfect, smooth blend of vulnerable evil, the queen of mean innuendo and backhanded compliments. Awkafina (Ocean’s 8) is her usual hilarious self as Rachel’s friend and a scion of a Trump emulating nouveau riche family, and the stereotypically gay fashion designer Oliver (Nick Santos, Superstore) steals every scene he is in. We see glimpses of regular people, but nearly every character is insanely rich. I suppose that gives the writers more of a blank slate to create their story since no one is struggling for anything except love and affection, as well as ample opportunity to poke fun at the over the top antics of the world’s financial overlords. What I kept feeling was a low level irritation that we were supposed to feel sorry for them.

The end of the film has a comic An Officer and a Gentleman vibe, which is always romantic, and the movie as a whole turns the Cinderella story on its head by making it the prince who has to choose between love and fortune. Nick has his own story arc rather than being the rich and handsome prize off in the corner, and I found that refreshing. Made me wonder. Why haven’t we heard the screams of complaint from the girls about boys taking over all the fairy tales?  Guess we just share better. Rachel does lean toward a masochistic Cinderalla type but gives it more or a modern fight for what she wants.

The film is a bit segmented, taking turns to be romantic, funny, dramatic, back to funny, back to romantic, a couple of awkward moments, back to funny. It’s too bad they didn’t mix things together a little better. Several people in the theater were surprised to hear so many American song standards like How About You remixed for the Asian setting. It didn’t feel jarring so much as fascinating.  

At one point Rachel, raised in NYC, says, “I’m Chinese” and that kinda pissed me off. No, you’re an American. This is why your rat fink fiancé doesn’t warn you about the vipers nest he’s dropping you into, because he understands the snarky rich will give you nothing but grief for it after they’re through hating you for being poor.

At the very end of the film be careful of the epilepsy-inducing end credits. Seriously, I had to hide my eyes, they were making me queasy. Crazy Rich Asians is as funny and romantic as the trailer would have you believe, the acting, writing and art direction are all solid, and it’s a nice feel good movie if you like the Cinderella story. My quibbles are pretty tame for the most part, and I recommend you see this movie if you’d like an easy laugh and a smooth ride.

LINKS:

CRAZY RICH ASIANS | Official Trailer | 2018 [HD]

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