'Crazy Rich Asians' serves up auspicious mix of romance, laughs

"Crazy Rich Asians" understandably feels like an occasion -- a big, colorful coming-out party for Asian (and...

Posted: Aug 9, 2018 12:10 PM
Updated: Aug 9, 2018 12:11 PM

"Crazy Rich Asians" understandably feels like an occasion -- a big, colorful coming-out party for Asian (and especially Asian-American) talent. Set aside the cultural significance, though, and director Jon M. Chu has delivered a highly satisfying, decidedly old-fashioned romantic comedy, garnished with soapy elements and enough mouth-watering shots of food to inspire a big meal before or after.

Bringing Kevin Kwan's hit novel to the screen, "Crazy Rich Asians" gets the most important part of the movie very right, casting Constance Wu ("Fresh Off the Boat") as Rachel Chu -- the New York economics professor thrust into a world of staggering opulence, and almost-to-scale sniping and judgment -- and Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor, the imperious mother of Rachel's otherwise-perfect boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding, making a strong bid for romantic heartthrob status).

Arts and entertainment

Movies

Somehow, Nick has managed to shield Rachel from the fact that he's the heir to one of Singapore's wealthiest families, and thus a kind of royalty. So she's in for a rude awakening when she accompanies him on a trip home for his best friend's wedding, meeting his extended, eccentric relatives as part of the bargain.

"His parents can't not like me, right?" she asks before they leave.

Based on Rachel's resume, one would think not. But that's before she encounters the tradition-bound Youngs, amid a whirlwind trip filled with plenty of detours, most designed to show off Singapore (the tourism bureau should be over the moon), delectable dishes and dazzling opulence.

That includes not just the old-money trappings that the Youngs embody, but also Rachel's irrepressible college friend Peik Lin (Awkwafina, having a moment after her "Ocean's 8" role) and her nouveau-riche family, offering Ken Jeong a chance to join the festivities.

In terms of recent movies, "Crazy Rich Asians" has a bit in common with "Fifty Shades of Grey," to the extent that Rachel falls for a super-rich guy with a high degree of difficulty built into the relationship -- there, his dominant-submissive appetites; here, his disapproving mom and the prying eyes of those encircling them.

Thanks to Kwan's book, though, Chu and writers Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim have a rich assortment of characters to mine, and the latitude to flesh out the central romance with subplots like the strained marriage of Nick's cousin Astrid ("Humans" star Gemma Chan). Moreover, that's all set against a lavish backdrop of parties, dinners and eventually the wedding -- accompanied, cleverly, by Chinese versions of pop tunes like Madonna's "Material Girl."

Wu provides a perfect surrogate for the audience in her wide-eyed reaction to it all, able to pull off the Cinderella riffs while exhibiting the grit to weather being reluctantly placed under the microscope. Yeoh, meanwhile, speaks volumes with just a withering stare that packs as much punch as any of her action roles.

Of course, because of Hollywood's shoddy history with Asian actors, the movie's mere existence is being heralded as a breakthrough. After stereotypes, best-friend roles and white actors playing lead Asian characters, seeing a major U.S. studio throw its resources behind a film with a virtually all-Asian cast brings with it an added dimension of trailblazing scrutiny.

That's a lot of baggage, but like almost everything else in this meticulously appointed film, "Crazy Rich Asians" wears it well. And while those who know a bit about Chinese culture will recognize that the review embargo corresponds with an auspicious date, by crafting such a broadly appealing movie, the filmmakers have seemingly made their own luck.

"Crazy Rich Asians" premieres Aug. 15 in the U.S. It's rated PG-13.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 735999

Reported Deaths: 13486
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1007151752
Lake54249977
Allen40946680
St. Joseph36335553
Hamilton35829408
Elkhart28844443
Tippecanoe22475219
Vanderburgh22367397
Porter18946311
Johnson18067381
Hendricks17317315
Clark13036192
Madison12762339
Vigo12501249
LaPorte12086215
Monroe11957172
Delaware10755187
Howard10001218
Kosciusko9466117
Hancock8373142
Bartholomew8098156
Warrick7799155
Floyd7690178
Grant7098174
Wayne7072199
Boone6745101
Morgan6611140
Dubois6166117
Marshall6111112
Cass5876105
Dearborn583178
Henry5785105
Noble565984
Jackson503773
Shelby494396
Lawrence4602120
Gibson437192
Harrison436672
DeKalb430585
Clinton428453
Montgomery425889
Whitley398739
Huntington394480
Steuben391057
Miami383968
Knox372890
Jasper372649
Putnam363760
Wabash355380
Adams342755
Ripley340770
Jefferson331881
White317754
Daviess298399
Wells292081
Decatur285992
Fayette282162
Greene280585
Posey272034
LaGrange268970
Scott267554
Clay261347
Washington242132
Randolph242081
Spencer232931
Jennings230949
Starke219354
Fountain213946
Sullivan212242
Owen203356
Jay197830
Fulton196040
Carroll190420
Orange184754
Perry184637
Rush174025
Vermillion170044
Franklin168535
Tipton163445
Parke146716
Pike135634
Blackford135132
Pulaski117445
Newton108934
Brown102641
Crawford101415
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82615
Switzerland7948
Union71410
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1091623

Reported Deaths: 19528
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1268061406
Cuyahoga1132982134
Hamilton804211211
Montgomery518231015
Summit47606955
Lucas42618792
Butler38548585
Stark32661909
Lorain25199486
Warren24390300
Mahoning21795588
Lake20846371
Clermont19880240
Delaware18608133
Licking16488212
Fairfield16327200
Trumbull16196468
Medina15379266
Greene15143244
Clark14096299
Wood13168189
Portage12966206
Allen11740232
Richland11433199
Miami10713220
Wayne8923214
Columbiana8881229
Muskingum8831133
Pickaway8596121
Marion8561136
Tuscarawas8509245
Erie7958155
Hancock6944128
Ashtabula6904172
Ross6876156
Geauga6741148
Scioto6444102
Belmont5978168
Union575448
Lawrence5590102
Jefferson5583151
Huron5462120
Sandusky5380122
Darke5374126
Seneca5311122
Washington5228109
Athens520858
Auglaize494986
Mercer481585
Shelby470293
Knox4513110
Madison439363
Putnam4301101
Ashland426590
Fulton426469
Defiance424697
Crawford3993107
Brown397557
Logan383276
Preble381398
Clinton374163
Ottawa369081
Highland356862
Williams343475
Champaign335358
Guernsey317653
Jackson314152
Perry295950
Morrow287239
Fayette283550
Hardin271964
Henry270366
Coshocton266157
Holmes2625101
Van Wert244263
Adams240053
Pike238634
Gallia236749
Wyandot232155
Hocking216462
Carroll192448
Paulding174340
Meigs145540
Noble134137
Monroe132542
Harrison109637
Morgan108823
Vinton84915
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 56°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 58°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 60°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 53°
Tuesday will be a mostly cloudy and warm day with the chance of a few afternoon thundershowers.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events