REVIEW: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a charming, insightful romcom

Subjects such as wealth, power and differences in the social hierarchy based on income are all packaged and put before audiences in this summer romcom.

As the name implies, the film centers around very affluent Asian individuals. However, the main protagonist Rachel (Constance Wu), isn’t one of them. Rachel is an economics professor living in New York City and is in a relationship with Nick Young (Henry Golding). The two are a happy couple, yet when Nick invites Rachel to his best friend’s wedding, she finds out that he’s been hiding something.

It turns out that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and holds great influence in Singapore. Upon arriving in Singapore, Rachel experiences some of the perks of her boyfriend’s wealth, but at the same time, their relationship becomes strained. This is mainly because Rachel isn’t remotely close to being a rich person, and some of the individuals close to Nick look down on her for it.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a welcome addition to the romantic-comedy library. The film offers insight into another culture as well as perspective on how some view families and/or individuals who’ve immigrated to the United States from their home country.

Of course, the main concept explored during “Crazy Rich Asians” is the separation of classes based on income. Throughout its runtime, the picture explores the effect this idea has on romantic relationships, family structure and life decisions.

While the film delves into this subject matter, though, the film’s story remains largely pedestrian. “Crazy Rich Asians” brings up interesting topics and has a sweet relationship at its core, yet the overall story is filled with familiar themes and tropes. Much of what happens is fairly predictable and there aren’t too many curveballs.

The film does earn plenty of points with its lead actresses, though. Wu knocks it out of the park here, showcasing solid comedic timing. Her performance also really sells what her character is going through, especially when it comes to Rachel’s self-esteem and confidence.

Acting veteran Michelle Yeoh, meanwhile, is great here, as expected. Her character is very tough, but fair. While she could have easily been painted as more of an antagonist, Yeoh’s portrayal makes the character’s actions and thought process at least understandable.

Stealing numerous scenes is Awkwafina, who plays Rachel’s friend and roommate from college Peik Lin Goh. The character is hilarious and Awkwafina brings a great deal of energy to the role which makes it work.

Unfortunately, Golding’s performance wasn’t on par with some of the other actors on screen. This was Golding’s first acting role, and that fact is rather noticeable at times. Certainly not a poor performance, but there were times that he came across as somewhat inauthentic. Thankfully, Golding did have a good level of chemistry with Wu and their characters’ relationship is believable.

The fact that “Crazy Rich Asians” explores some different subjects that your average romcom never looks at gives the film an edge. Plus, there were some nice performances featured by the leading actresses. Yet the overall story is fairly average and not all of the acting is above average. 3.75 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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