An effervescent breath of fresh cinematic air, this ridiculously entertaining film succeeds as an instant cultural touchstone and a reaffirmation of the joy of romantic comedies.
As the first contemporary film with an all-Asian cast released by a major American studio since 1993's The Joy Luck Club, it would be easy to perceive Crazy Rich Asians solely through the prism of its representation goals. But they remembered to make the film awesome as well, and that awesomeness is only enhanced by the idea that large sections of the audience are seeing themselves reflected in a mainstream movie for the first time.
Adapted from Kevin Kwan's 2013 novel, the plot follows NYU economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), the only child of a Chinese immigrant mother. Rachel's been dating the dashing Nick Young (Henry Golding) for a year but doesn't realise he's the scion of one of Singapore's wealthiest families.
When she joins him on a trip to his home country for a wedding, Rachel encounters his wider circle of friends and family, some of whom, especially his mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), view her as a gold-digging American interloper.
Ably filling a rom-com-shaped hole that has emerged of late in Hollywood, this Cinderella story doesn't reinvent the form by any stretch but gains a huge amount from the heretofore unexplored cultural avenues it pursues.
Wu and Golding are charm personified, and there's much fun to be found in the supporting cast of colourful characters.
If I had a complaint, it might but that some sections feel a little bit too much like a Singapore tourism video, but that's a small crime for a film that is otherwise guaranteed to have you grinning from ear to ear.
Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding
Jon M. Chu
PG (Coarse language)
Impossible to resist.