REEL REVIEW: CRAZY RICH ASIANS

Crazy Rich Asians Movie Poster

Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Screenwriter: Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim
Director: Jon M. Chu
Release Date: August 15, 2018
Synopsis: A contemporary romantic comedy that follows NYU professor, Rachel Chu, who visits Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick Young, to attend his best friend’s wedding and to meet his family.

A Monumental Occasion

I only saw a trailer for Crazy Rich Asians once, and I knew I was going to see this movie. It has been sooooo long since I’ve been excited to see a romantic comedy, and the vibrant trailer caught my eye immediately. I was also super excited to watch a love story that was exclusively between people of color.  It has been years, 25 years to be exact, since we have seen a major motion picture with a majority Asian cast, and I have NEVER seen a romantic comedy with a majority Asian cast. I am definitely looking forward to the sequels, and I hope it expands the representation of the Southeast Asian population.

Change I Can Accept

Like any adaptation, the movie often takes license because it is impossible to capture everything from a 500-page book into a 2-hour movie. Crazy Rich Asians definitely took advantage of that license, especially when it came to the ending. Anyone who has read the book knows this story does not end in typical rom-com fashion that we have come to expect. Since I am a fan of romantic comedies, this change to the end didn’t surprise me, and it didn’t upset me based on other changes that were made to the movie version of the story, like the open tension between Rachel and Eleanor in the dumplings and mah-jongg scenes. 

I might be alone on this island, but I didn’t like Ronny Chieng as Eddie Cheng. Now, I absolutely LOVE Ronny Chieng. He is adorable and so funny, but I saw Eddie as older and more tyrannical based on the book. I was also slightly disappointed with Astrid’s simplified storyline. I know it would be so hard to weave that story into the movie’s limited run time, but I feel that the richness of the Astrid I loved in the book was missing from the movie. I  hope they bring some of that into the sequel since a special person from Astrid’s past made a cameo at the wedding!

That’s Not What Happened!

For all the beauty the movie brought us, there were a few missteps based on my interpretation of the book. My first side eye was the movie’s interpretation of the Goh Family. I understand that they represent “new money,” so they are more ostentatious when showing off their wealth, but they felt like caricatures from the book. I love me some Ken Jeong, but I could have used less Jeong-iness in this role. I also HATED Mr. Goh’s interactions with Peik Lin because the movie paints Peik Lin as someone who didn’t take her studies seriously when, in fact, Mr. Goh was proud of her accomplishments and saw her as the most qualified of his children to take over his business. That seemed like a missed opportunity to turn that tired notion on its head. 

Speaking of Peik Lin, I was also not a fan of her adaptation from book to movie. In the book, she was Rachel’s smart college friend with the most effervescent personality. In the movie, she was transformed into the quirky sidekick channeling her best sassy black girl impression. It didn’t make me like the movie any less, but it was slightly annoying. The last aspect of the movie that left me salty was the movie’s version of Michael Teo. Without spoiling the story, I will just say the book’s take on Michael’s affair and his relationship with Astrid and her family was smart and nuanced. The movie took the lazy route when handling it.

Overall Opinion

Despite my nitpicking, the movie lived up to and even exceeded my expectations in many aspects. I got a love story that I’ve been unknowingly craving for a while, and I got to see a place I’ve wanted to visit for years. If Singapore isn’t experiencing a tourism boom at the moment, then they will soon because of this movie.

Final Grade

Kettle Korn: Crazy Rich Asians is the must-see movie based on the must-read book. The adaptation was mostly sweet, but there were some changes from the book that kept it from getting top scores.

Your Turn

So…have you read Crazy Rich Asians? Have you seen Crazy Rich Asians? Are you one of the crazy rich Asians? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more Crazy Rich Asians? Read the book review!

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