Crazy Rich Asians (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Combo Pack)
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Crazy Rich Asians (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Combo Pack) (BD)
"Crazy Rich Asians” follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry 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 (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.]]>
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- Commentary by Director Jon M. Chu and Novelist Kevin Kwan
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What Rachel doesn’t know is that Nick is the scion of Singapore’s wealthiest and most powerful family, and that his best friend’s wedding is Singapore’s social event of the century. Rachel already suspects that Nick will use the occasion to propose to her…but doesn’t expect that in Singapore Nick’s proposal will be an occasion reminiscent of Prince Charming’s fitting the glass slipper to Cinderella’s foot.
“Crazy Rich Asians” sets a playful tone early in the picture when a snappy new version of the old Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford rock ‘n roll standard “Money (That’s What I Want)” plays over the opening credits and establishing shots with its familiar lyrics performed in Chinese. The movie then segues smoothly into a pleasant enough social comedy-slash-travelogue, as the American Rachel is introduced to local Singapore locations, customs, and cuisine.
But before long the picture dissolves into a more familiar triangulation of affection: Nick’s influential and traditionalist mother Eleanor, a society maven whose personality resembles that of the Dragon Lady without that character’s endearing qualities, strongly disapproves of Nick’s American girlfriend. Eleanor prefers that her son sacrifice romantic happiness in America in favor of a life of misery in Singapore—returning to his homeland to assume his ancestral obligations as the heir to the family fortune.
“Crazy Rich Asians” benefits strongly from the casting of the almost impossibly attractive Constance Wu and Henry Golding as Rachel and Nick. Individually Wu and Golding are physically stunning, but together they resemble the figurines atop a wedding cake, if those figures were modeled on Venus and Adonis.
Fortunately, both performers possess the acting chops to not only match their appearances, but also to make their characters sympathetic and genuinely likable. Which is no small feat, especially considering that the Cambridge University-accented Golding has no previous acting experience—the Malaysian-born performer was cast in the coveted role on the strength of his personality and experience as the host of the BBC’s “The Travel Show.” Golding also produced and appeared in the Discovery Channel documentary “Surviving Borneo.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” also features good performances from a supporting cast of performers which includes pop star and rap artist Awkwafina as Rachel’s best friend and former college roommate, comedian and actor Ken Jeong as the wealthy father of Awkwafina’s character, and Lisa Lu as Nick’s grandmother and matriarch of the family. Michelle Yeoh, familiar for her roles in the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” and the Academy Award-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” from 2000, appears in the showcase role of Nick’s manipulative mother.
The dramatic emotional climax of “Crazy Rich Asians” occurs during a game of mahjong, played by Rachel and Eleanor with the solemn-faced gravity of the baccarat game between James Bond and his arch-nemesis Largo in 1965’s “Thunderball.” With its click-clack precision of colored playing tiles, the scene might contain considerably more significance to the mahjong enthusiasts in the audience, and concludes dramatically when one of the two opposing rivals for Nick’s affection snatches victory away from the other by revealing what appears to be the mahjong equivalent of a straight flush. If you’re able to guess which character prevails in the game, it might be an indication of the predictability of the rest of the picture.
Adapted from Kwan’s comic novel by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim and directed by Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” has been on the receiving end of some grouching by two sides of the discrimination debate. Some find fault with the picture for not including enough authentic Singapore-born Chinese in the principal cast, and others complain that the film doesn’t accurately portray Singapore’s colorful racial diversity, meaning that no roles were filled by the city’s Malay, Eurasian, and Indian populations.
But you can’t have everything. Some observers have noted that similar criticisms were made prior to the release of “The Godfather” by individuals of Italian-American descent, who eventually came around when the accolades and awards began to roll in. You might not notice the ethnic diversity problems in “Crazy Rich Asians,” though, so much as you come away with the revelation that Chinese families can be as goofy, eccentric, and unmanageable as anyone else’s. That’s probably the point.
The critics apparently don’t mind the diversity problems, either. Based on 144 reviews, “Crazy Rich Asians” has received an approval rating of 92% from the Rotten Tomatoes website, and an average score of 74% from Metacritic based on the reviews of 46 other critics. Exit audiences polled by CinemaScore assign the movie an average grade of A.
Originally projected to earn a up to $20 million during its opening weekend, estimates were raised to $30 million after advance screenings sold out at nearly all of the 354 theaters exhibiting the preview. Now playing at 3303 theaters across the United States, “Crazy Rich Asians” might just find itself exceeding expectations again.
Director Jon Chu and others have been quick to point out that the film is the first major American production since “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993 to feature a mostly Asian cast. Prior to the release of “Crazy Rich Asians,” Chu acknowledged that he’d be eager to return to direct a sequel if the first film was a success, a possibility which now seems likely. Kevin Kwan’s original novel spawned two sequels—“China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and adult language.
Like the book, the film follows NYU professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she follows her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) home to Singapore. One of Nick's best friends is getting married, so this is the perfect opportunity for Rachel to see the place he grew up. Nick has always been pretty quiet about his family, so Rachel isn't sure what to expect. She grows suspicious of him the moment they board their private first class suite on the plane, an extravagance Rachel has never even dreamed of. Soon Nick reveals a huge secret about his family. They are crazy rich!
Before the plane even leaves the tarmac, the news of Nick's mysterious new girlfriend reaches his mother played by Michelle Yeoh. Eleanor Young is not impressed with Rachel. Nick may think he's found "the one", but mothers know best. Rachel is American born from a single mother and has no financial or social stature to speak of. Eleanor will not stand by while her son's emotions and bank account are taken advantage of. She has to stop this relationship.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians. Chu's film improves upon the novel by making the characters more emotionally rounded and allowing the themes of culture and family to weave into the comedy. Similar to the way that My Big Fat Greek Wedding bridged Greek culture into universally relatable themes, Crazy Rich Asians finds a perfect balance in highlighting the intricacies of its own unique culture while crafting an emotionally satisfying romantic comedy that should appeal to the masses. Unlike the novel, the film ends with a true conclusion that will leave you wanting more from these remarkable characters. I can't predict what the box office results will be, but I can say without a doubt that I thoroughly enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians.