‘Crazy Rich Asians’ review: A wonderful, inclusive vacation

Jon M. Chu’s ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is the ‘Black Panther’ of Asian representation but instead of vibranium, the golds and gems are in full display.

The most meaningful scene in Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians happens at a dinner table where the incredibly wealthy Singaporean Young family are gathered around to make some dumplings. Instead of handing the task to their staff, the elders Youngs, as a tradition, teach their children how to specifically make them.

“Otherwise, they’ll disappear,” Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh), the mother of Nick (Henry Golding), throws some shade to his son’s asian-american girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu). It’s a subtle remark as to how Rachel’s western values of individualism and self-seeking happiness can influence Nick to potentially drive himself away from his family. The grandmother (Lisa Lu) even chimes in and criticizes some of the dumplings Rachel made.

Not to mention, Rachel’s less desirable background and social status simply won’t make do for Eleanor’s uncompromisingly high standards. Later on, she confronts her and say, “You will never be enough for my son.”

It’s amazing how such a simple activity can be a ripe commentary on tradition, motherhood and conflicting beliefs of Asian and Western values. This is where Crazy Rich Asians shines best. It’s more than just a celebration of Asian culture, food and fashion, more than just its lavish Oscar-worthy production designs or more than just a comeback of Asian representation since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club. It’s a film whose culturally significant value is more than just the sum of its parts.

Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The all too familiar premise is this: a deeply-in-love, young couple – Rachel, a NYU economics professor and Nick, a sought-after royal bachelor – hits a wall when Nick’s family and nosy friends gets in their way. The largest hurdle is Eleanor, who makes it clear with her icy looks that she doesn’t like her. Now Rachel has to make herself worthy in their eyes. Or will this be a battle not worth fighting for? Despite a cliche ending, Crazy Rich Asians is nothing like Hollywood has offered before.

As Rachel gets a whirlwind introduction to dozens of relatives and friends of varying importance, the film embraces you with a feigned sense of familiarity. Sometimes it feels like you’re watching a TV episode where characters keep on popping and you have to go along like you’ve already seen them before. Initially, it’s hard to keep track which is which.

Nick’s sister Astrid (Gemma Chan) has a subplot about his marital troubles that seems interesting but since we only get fragments of it due to run time restraints, it feels shoehorned. It’s a common problem found in book to movie adaptations where there are plenty of characters to wrestle with.

Still, the whole ensemble comes out as appealing as their splendid costume designs. The biggest scene stealer is Rachel’s eccentric bestfriend Peik Lin (Awkwafina) who makes an impression right off the bat with her animal-printed silk pajamas.

Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

On surface level, Crazy Rich Asians is an examination of privilege and entitlement so it allows itself to wallow in superficiality. Bridesmaids splurge on shopping and spa treatments while groomsmen throw wild parties in private ships. The biggest highlight is Nick’s best friend’s (Chris Pang) wedding, as a whole church is transformed into a lily pond. This could be a possible trend for high-class weddings in the future. Also, Kris Aquino as Malay princess Intan makes an appearance to delight Pinoy fans.

But amid the glitz and glamour, Crazy Rich Asians is very much about the powerful women at its center. In the film’s prologue set in London, we see Eleanor and his family getting denied of an accommodation by a British hotel concierge. She later on exacts her revenge by using the wealth she amassed. Hence, you can see where she’s coming from, Eleanor is not just an archetypal ‘tiger mom.’ She experienced asian discrimination first hand and to her, serving her family’s interest matters the most. This is the reason why she sees the asian-american Rachel as a threat to their culture. Yeoh bears a commandingly cool presence that makes her a worthy adversary.

Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Likewise, Astrid uses her financial standing to empower herself against her cheating husband. Rachel, on the other hand, shows that power is not only in the hands of the wealthy people. During an affecting Mahjong scene, Rachel’s expertise on the game theory comes into play and she proves that people should not be judged from where they came from, but rather for what they became. It’s completely satisfying.

There are plenty of reasons to like Crazy Rich Asians – the dazzling cinematography and production values, the charming chemistry of Wu and Golding, the light-hearted fun and tender moments and so on – all wrapped into a big bowl of Asian culture. Its universal warmth from relationships among families, friends and significant others makes this vacation wonderful and inclusive.


4.5 out of 5 stars


Directed by Jon M. Chu, written by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim. Based on the novel Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Harry Shum Jr., Ken Jeong, Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Jimmy O. Yang, Ronny Chieng, Remy Hii, Nico Santos, Jing Lusi, Carmen Soo, Constance Lau, Pierre Png, Fiona Xie, Victoria Loke, Janice Koh, Amy Cheng, Koh Chieng Mun, Selena Tan, Kris Aquino
Run time: 120 minutes

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ earns P82.7-M in 5 days, biggest opening in PH for a foreign rom-com

The Philippine box-office laid out the red carpet for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Crazy Rich Asians” as Filipino movie fans rushed to the cinemas and gave the romantic comedy a record-breaking P82.7-M gross in five days, victoriously opening at No.1.

This was announced today by Francis Soliven, General Manager of Warner Bros. Philippines.

The contemporary love story based on the global bestseller by Kevin Kwan broke two box-office records, namely the All-Time Biggest Opening Weekend for a Foreign Romantic Comedy (surpassing 2002’s “Maid in Manhattan” with P24-M), and the Biggest Opening of the Year for a Warner Bros. Title (outgrossing “The Meg” with P63.4-M).

The most talked-about film in the country for the past several weeks, “Crazy Rich Asians” rode a tidal wave of goodwill and positive anticipation from fans, resulting to Warner’s biggest opening weekend of the year, as well as the biggest opening weekend for a romantic comedy.

Reviews for the Jon M. Chu were phenomenal and audiences have been spreading emotional word-of-mouth which has been key in getting a broader audience in.

The inclusion of Filipino actress Kris Aquino and US-based Pinoy comedian Nico Santos to the film’s cast also drove upbeat interest and curiosity. And based on post-screening reactions, both stars did their countrymen proud.

In North America, “Crazy Rich Asians” had a crazy good second weekend at the box office.

Warner Bros. acclaimed romantic comedy generated another $25 million in 3,526 locations, meaning it made almost as much during its second outing as it did its first weekend. Jon M. Chu’s movie, which has been lauded as the first studio film in over 25 years with a predominately Asian-American cast, dropped just 6% — marking one of the best holds in recent history for a wide release in any genre. In two weeks, its domestic total sits at $76.8 million.

Rated PG by the MTRCB, “Crazy Rich Asians” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.

About “Crazy Rich Asians”

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a contemporary romantic comedy based on the acclaimed worldwide bestseller by Kevin Kwan.

The story follows 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. Not only is he 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.

It soon becomes clear that the only thing crazier than love is family, in this funny and romantic story sure to ring true for audiences everywhere.

Directed by Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” features an international cast of stars, led by Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, and Awkwafina, with Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh. The large starring ensemble also includes Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Jimmy O. Yang, Ronny Chieng, Remi Hii, and Nico Santos.

Contance Wu, Henry Golding steal your hearts in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Warner Bros.’ new romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” takes a fun, engaging and hilarious look at what can happen when young love collides with old money.

Singapore’s favorite son, Nick Young (Henry Golding), proudly brings his beautiful and successful New Yorker girlfriend Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) home for a meet-and-greet, but the family dynamics aren’t quite what she expects. For Rachel, what starts as a dream romantic holiday with the man she adores becomes a battle to remain true to herself and her roots, while holding her own against picture-perfect backstabbing rivals and a prospective mother-in-law who thinks this modern American girl will never measure up.

Set in Singapore and featuring the first all-Asian ensemble in a contemporary Hollywood film in 25 years, the story mines humor from the idiosyncrasies of one family in a way that people everywhere can relate to—no matter who they are, how much money they have, or where they call home. It taps into the fundamental desire to fit in, while honoring your own identity, in an era of blending—and sometimes clashing—cultures.

As Rachel’s friend tries to warn her: these people aren’t just rich. They’re crazy-rich. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Constance Wu, who stars as the intrepid Rachel, describes her as “a college professor raised by a working-class, single mom. For many people, that’s a point of pride, but not for the Youngs. Their pride comes from legacy. I don’t think the story says one value system is better than the other, but shows those cultural differences and the differences between Asian and Asian-American, that are often overlooked. What I love about Rachel is that when things get tough she has the courage to follow her heart and forge her own path, in ways that are tested, but, ultimately, make up who she is.”

It’s a test for Nick, too, even though he knows what’s coming. “Having decided that Rachel is the one, he first has to get over the speed bump of bringing her home,” says Henry Golding, making his feature film debut as Nick. “He’s afraid if she sees how he was brought up, she might think he’s not the guy she fell in love with. Also, once home, he sees more clearly the forces conspiring to tear them apart and how standing his ground will affect them both.”

At its core, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a love story…a kind of savvy Cinderella tale, complete with a charming prince, a magnificent castle, and a battle of wills between two strong women determined to write their own ending. “I definitely see this as a modern-day, aspirational fairytale,” states Chu. “Rachel is our princess-warrior, and this is her journey to discover who she is—an American girl on her first trip to Asia, who comes away with a deeper appreciation not only of her past, but of her future.”

“Rachel is the way in for audiences,” says Wu. “We see everything through her eyes. She’s living a regular life, meeting her boyfriend for karaoke, et cetera, after work. Everything she has she has earned through hard work, and she’s remained humble and appreciative. So, when she’s thrown into this world of wealth unlike anything she’s ever known, it’s hard to fathom. Rich is something many of us have seen before: rich means you can buy whatever you want. Wealth means you can buy whatever you want and you control the market.”

On the plus side, Wu points out, “Rachel and Nick really love each other. Love transcends class and culture and logic. When someone’s your person, you know it, and that’s what Rachel and Nick are to each other.”

But will that be enough?

In Philippine cinemas August 22, “Crazy Rich Asians” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.

WATCH: It’s love vs family in first trailer for romantic comedy ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

“You can choose love, but you can’t choose family.” Watch the just-released first official trailer of Warner Bros. Pictures’ new romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” below.

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 (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.

“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”), 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”).

Color Force’s Nina Jacobson (“The Hunger Games” films) and Brad Simpson (“World War Z”), and Ivanhoe Pictures’ John Penotti (“Hell or High Water”) produced the film, with executive producers Tim Coddington, Kevin Kwan, Robert Friedland, and Sidney Kimmel serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, based on the novel Crazy Rich Asians, by Kwan.

The creative filmmaking team included director of photography Vanja Cernjul (“Marco Polo”), production designer Nelson Coates (“Fifty Shades Darker”), costume designer Mary Vogt (“Kong: Skull Island”) and editor Myron Kerstein (“Going in Style”). The music was composed by Brian Tyler (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”).

“Crazy Rich Asians” was filmed entirely on location in Singapore and Malaysia. It is set for release in Philippine cinemas August 22.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with SK Global Entertainment and Starlight Culture, a Color Force/Ivanhoe Pictures/Electric Somewhere Production, a Jon M. Chu Film, “Crazy Rich Asians.” It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.