Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Jon M. Chu ("Now You See Me 2") directed the contemporary romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians," based on the acclaimed worldwide bestseller by Kevin Kwan.
The story follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick's family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life.
It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country's wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick's arm puts a target on Rachel's back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick's own disapproving mother (Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can't buy love, it can definitely complicate things.
"Crazy Rich Asians" features an international cast of stars, led by Constance Wu ("Fresh Off the Boat"), Gemma Chan ("Humans"), Lisa Lu ("2012"), and Awkwafina (upcoming "Ocean's 8," "Neighbors 2"), with Ken Jeong (the "Hangover" films") and Michelle Yeoh ("Star Trek: Discovery," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). The large starring ensemble also includes Henry Golding, making his feature film debut, Sonoya Mizuno ("La La Land"), Chris Pang ("Marco Polo"), Jimmy O. Yang ("Silicon Valley"), comedian Ronny Chieng ("The Daily Show"), Remi Hii ("Marco Polo"), and Nico Santos ("Superstore").
The film hit theaters this week, so check out what the critics are saying here:
Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair: "Leading the pack is Constance Wu, breakout star of ABC's Fresh Off the Boat, here putting a funny spin on a familiar fish-out-of-water romantic ingenue role. (An ingenue who's an economics professor at N.Y.U., no less.) She plays Rachel Chu, a Chinese American who's been wooed by Chinese-Singaporean heartthrob Nick Young (the jaw-droppingly dashing TV presenter-turned-first-time actor Henry Golding-make him a movie star, please). They've been serious for a while now, and Nick thinks it's time she met his family back in Singapore, where he'll be the best man at a friend's wedding. Rachel agrees and off they go, on what Rachel assumes will be a fairly standard meet-the-parents trip, albeit one requiring an extra-long plane ride."
Tom Gliatto, People: "But the story is constructed from sturdy themes?duty to one's family (Nick is expected to head the Young empire) versus duty to one's heart?that are neatly worked out for us. It helps, also, that we come to admire the strength and resourcefulness of both Rachel and her prime foe, Henry's overprotective mother (beautiful, formidable Michelle Yeoh)."
Richard Crouse, CTV News: "The plotting is pure rom com-couple fall in love, are forced apart and (SPOILER ALERT ONLY IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN A ROM COM BEFORE) yet find a way to make their love work despite all obstacles-but it is populated with appealing characters to guide the story. Wu is the film's beating heart, bringing empathy and humanity to the high-flying world portrayed. Ditto Gemma Chan, an extravagantly wealthy woman trying to make sense of a marriage torn apart by money and status. As Nick's icy mother Michelle Yeoh displays an ability to reveal much by doing very little."
Kurt Loder, Reason: "Everything could go wrong, of course, and mostly does. First of all, Nick has been withholding some important biographical data from Rachel. As she discovers after they board their flight and he walks her past First Class and into a private suite in a special section of the plane (an actual thing on Singapore Airlines), Nick's family is among the biggest property developers in Southeast Asia - in other words, they're crazy rich."
Scott Mendelson, Forbes: "For all its good intentions and potential value as a studio gamechanger, Crazy Rich Asians is frustratingly run-of-the-mill in its storytelling and overly enraptured with the second word in its title. As a glorified tourist brochure showing us upper-class Singapore, it will show you the sights and make you very hungry for local cuisine. But if you're not someone who enjoys the mere sight of ridiculously wealthy people joying their (mostly inherited) extravagance, the Jon M. Chu-directed adaptation of Kevin Kwan's novel is often a chore for its middle 75 minutes or so. On top of that, its core romantic pairing is one rooted in overt dishonesty and inexplicable obliviousness."
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: "A couple of sequences-a bachelor PARTY ON a barge, a shopping spree on an Indonesian island-prove that even excess can be excessive; these shrill, antic spectacles are less eye-popping than eye-glazing. Secondary performances sometimes careen through heedless exuberance into flat-out clumsiness; Mr. Chu is at his best as a director of actors in calmer scenes with strong emotional charges. The script ranges from mordantly funny (that sharp-witted preface; a game of mah-jongg as mortal combat; one-liners like a Singaporean parent urging a kid to eat by saying "A lot of children are starving in America") to gratuitous and heavy (a partygoer heckles Rachel with "Hey, Cinderella, what's the matter, you've got to return your coach at midnight?")."
Image courtesy of Crazy Rich Asians Official Facebook Page