Crazy Rich Asians is a rom-com that delivers. The love story is about as fluffy as you’d expect, but the visuals alone are worth the price of admission. You’ll see stunning architecture from across Singapore, and when the dialogue occasionally falls flat, you can always imagine you’re watching MTV Cribs and Anthony Bourdain reruns on mute.
Celebrated for its complete cast of Asians and Asian-Americans, the movie hits the familiar tropes. Nico Santos plays the flamboyant “rainbow sheep” of the family, and he manages the obligatory makeover montage. The quirky college friend (Awkwafina as “Peik Lin Goh”) has many of the film’s best one-liners, and her nouveau riche family (including Ken Jeong of Community and The Hangover) provides a comedic foil for the classy type of old money we should envy and respect. The soundtrack is fresh without being intrusive.
Of course, if you’re looking to become more informed about Asian cultures, then you probably want a different genre of film. The biggest contextual overview comes when a character is pointing to a map on a handbag. While this movie doesn’t quite educate viewers, it does give exposure to a region and a narrow slice of culture. And make no mistake, that slice is crazy rich.
The movie overextends itself with some elements, particularly when the Economics professor demonstrates practical applications of Game Theory. Even when it leaves unanswered questions, the subplot provides thematic structure. Like an unexpected bump to first class, Crazy Rich Asians is a fun ride, a two-hour glimpse of how the other fraction-of-a-percent lives.