Watson Reviews: Crazy Rich Asians (Spoiler Free)

Wow. An intriguing August opening with a high Rotten Tomatoes score.

I don’t know what to do with myself!

Crazy Rich Asians is the first big Hollywood production to feature Asian-Americans in most of the leading roles since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club, so it comes with even more cache than just a well reviewed film.

Oddly, I went into an August release with high expectations.

Could it live up to the hype?

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Rachel and Nick are living a metropolitan life in New York. Nick is secretly the scion of one of the wealthiest families in the world. Rachel is a first generation American who became an Economics professor, who apparently doesn’t know how to use Google.

When Nick’s best friend announces his wedding, Nick and Rachel head to Singapore where she learns of his family’s extreme wealth and the societal pressures of dating the 0.001%.

Rachel struggles to fit into the snooty Singapore society and needs help from a cast of quirky characters to navigate her fish out of water situation.

WHAT WORKED:

  • It was a charmingly executed film. The scenery is amazing, the costumes are beautiful, and the banter is fun. The film really captured the lives of extreme wealth in South Asia.
  • The cast nailed it. The romantic leads, Constance Wu as Rachel and Henry Golding as Nick are very strong and have great chemistry. They are supported well by elegant cousin Astrid, played by Gemma Chan and the always impressive Michelle Yeow, as Nick’s controlling mother, Eleanor.
  • There were some quirky characters that breathed life into this venture. First, let me say that Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8) absolutely stole the movie as Peik Lin. Every line. Every scene. Every moment. She is amazing. She will crack you up! Almost matching her humor is Nico Santo as Oliver, a lesser member of the family who befriends Rachel. You know it is great with Ken Jeong (Community) is the third funniest character in a scene. He plays Peik Lin’s dad and even his creepy, stalker son steals focus from Dr Ken…and Dr Ken is funny in this film!

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • Under the majestic scenery is a fairly straightforward Rom-com. Most rom-coms follow similar tropes and this one is not different in that regard. That said, it is more about the execution and Crazy Rich Asians sticks the landing.
  • There didn’t seem to be enough screen time between the two leads. The chemistry between Nick and Rachel is really strong, but for a lot of the film they spend in different locations. They have some great scenes, but I could have used a few more minutes with them together.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Utterly charming. Awkwafina is a star and carries this cast from a supporting role.

Crazy Rich Asians serves as further proof that diversity is a benefit and producers should employ diverse casting more broadly. This is a movie that all audiences should enjoy.

A sweet, fun experience.

Overall, I give Crazy Rich Asians a score of 9Asian Ellens out of 10.

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