“Are you bringing the girl you are dating to Colin’s wedding?” asks Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh). “How did you know?” says son Nick (Henry Golding). “Everybody knows,” his mother says abruptly, ending her Singapore to New York City phone call. That’s the setup for this romantic comedy that pits Nick and girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), Chinese-American economics professor at NYU, against Nick’s ultra-wealthy, imperious mother in Singapore.
Can Nick and Rachel overcome his mother’s strong objections to their marriage? Can social-class and cultural differences between their families be managed? Is the ending happy? For answers, see “Crazy Rich Asians.”
Constance Wu and Henry Golding are appealing and attractive as Chinese-American Rachel Chu and Singapore-Chinese Nick Young. “So,” asks Rachel, “your family is, like, rich?” “We’re comfortable,” says Nick. “That’s exactly what a rich person would say,” Rachel replies. Michelle Yeoh is perfect as impossibly wealthy, no-nonsense matriarch, Eleanor Young, who tells Nick, “When children are away from home too long, they forget who they are.” Nick, as everyone knows, is Singapore’s most eligible bachelor and a crown prince, next in line to head the Young family’s gazillion-dollar real estate empire.
Others in the large Asian cast include comic actors Ken Jeong and Awkwafina as family friends, Wye Mun Goh and Peik Lin Goh. Their clever dialog lightens the intergenerational drama. Tan Kheng Hua is Rachel’s mother, Kerry Chu, who has family stories of her own. Chris Pang plays Colin Khoo, Nick’s best friend, and Gemma Chan is stunning as Astrid Leong, one of Nick’s many cousins. Pierre Png is Michael, her unreliable husband.
“Crazy Rich Asians,” directed by Jon M. Chu, script by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lin, from the novel by Kevin Kwan, is a rom-com love story with cultural and social-class obstacles Rachel and Nick must overcome. That they do is no surprise, so telling you now is not a spoiler. It’s a feel-good, romantic movie with many pleasures — attractive cast, smart script, fabulous clothes, exotic and glamourous locations, and great music, including both Wagner and Elvis.
Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language, “Crazy Rich Asians” runs 120 minutes, but moves quickly and entertains non-stop. Watch for the dumpling scene and all the other delicious food close-ups.
For Nick and Rachel, handsome pair,
Marriage is a family affair;
If love is crazy, as they say,
Rich family’s crazier, any day.