For a film that is focused on the rich and famous Asians—the adaptation from a novel written by Kevin Kwan and directed by Jon M. Chu may have stirred mixed feedback from audiences around the globe, particularly from Asians (themselves); yet it has raked in and gained approval from those who are fond of Hollywood-made flicks.
After almost 25 years, when the last all-Asian represented Hollywood film ‘The Joy Luck Club’ (1993) was released in 1993 and tackled the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese mothers; today comes a romantic-comedy movie as a vehicle to introduce a contemporary Asian to a North American audience. The film focuses on the love story of two New York University (NYU) professors—Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and Nicolas Young (Henry Golding).
Clearly, the film is about rich Chinese as one of the many Asian races the world has come to know. Yes, it somehow singled out the rich brown-skinned Asians, but focused on the yellow-skinned Asians—the Chinese. Kwan, the novelist was clear from his standpoint of presenting the modern-day Chinese to the American audience; on how (crazy) rich they are.
In the novel’s prologue, which was also included in the film—Young’s mother, Eleonor Sung-Young (Michelle Yeoh) after being mistreated; she bought the hotel that refused to accommodate them. So how crazy can that be, right? So, the next time one would attempt to discriminate an Asian—one must think many times or one would end up living a life of shame and misery.
Assembling a cast that could truly make the film a huge commercial success is no easy task. The director was able to match the requirement of every character in Kwan’s story. Sharing the limelight with the other big names included in the movie are Awkwafina and Nico Santos who played Goh Peik Lin (Rachel’s rich Chinese friend, but not that crazy rich) and Oliver T’sien (Nick’s friendly and fashionable cousin). Both did well in their respective roles as Rachel’s allies.
Some of the highlights the audience would be wowed with were the likes of Colin Khoo‘s (Chris Pang) bachelor party in the middle of an ocean aboard a huge tanker ship, organized by Bernard Tai (Jimmy O. Yang), the obnoxious spoiled son of billionaire Dato’ Tai Toh Lui and as former classmate of Colin and Nick. Then there’s Araminta Lee‘s (Sonoya Mizuno) bachelorette party with free shopping spree and massages in a paradise island.
But the most lavish of all is the scene where the Queen of all Media—Kris Aquino had her cameo in the $40-million wedding, which was criticized by Eleonor’s posse for being ostentatious but is a rather glamorous version of a Filipino couple (Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson delos Reyes) who pushed through with their matrimonial ceremony in the middle of a flooded Santo Rosario Church in Hagonoy, Bulacan during the tropical storm Yagi this year.
The inclusion of Ms. Aquino in the film, though brief; was already enough to give her that exposure. Donning a royal yellow gown, as Princess Intan, Aquino proved that her appearance in the film was indeed a ‘highlight’ as Kwan described it in his previous interview. It is one that Filipinos should celebrate because another fellow countryman was able to break into the Hollywood scene. That moment when Rachel was brave enough to sit next to the snobbish Malay princess, it was already something to define Chu’s personality as Young’s future bride.
Is this worth watching?
Oh yes. Even if there were some who objected about the whole idea that the film represented the Asians in Hollywood; still this screenplay is another breakthrough. Many may have protested that other Asian minorities were left out in the film—like those brown-skinned Asians; but people must always see the context of the novel and even the title itself has suggested about crazy rich Asians.
What if those with brown complexion were seen as servicemen or helpers? Is it something to be ashamed of? If these Asians have work and are working hard—it is still a decent image to embrace and be proud about.
The tandem of Wu and Golding worked well onscreen. It joined the ranks of other loveteams that were featured in Hollywood romance flicks. Each scene presented on the silver screen was palatable to the eyes of its intended audience. Not a single scene should be taken off. All of which are to be savored and even be celebrated. It has exceeded any extravagant expectations that the crazy, filthy rich people are capable of doing. Personally, this film would help boost Lion City as the next important tourist destination in Asia.
If the ‘Dynasty’ series was a huge hit back then and even to this day, then this film will surely entertain those who want to eavesdrop about the lives of the rich and famous. It is a good ride. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is now showing in theaters nationwide.