I missed most of the hype around Crazy Rich Asians, but had read some mixed reviews once the initial buzz had died down. I know a part of that was to do with how well (or not) the film managed to actually portray Asian culture, but obviously I can't really judge it on those merits. Although I will note that the food court they go to on their first night in Singapore looked extremely familiar, and if it is (or was, as it has since closed down) Lavendar Food Square then I agree with the claim of the best satay in Singapore 😂🤤
Location aside, what the film does manage is to present the classic rom-com tropes and format in a refreshing, new way. The characters feel real, their actions make sense, there aren't any plot-driven misunderstandings or ridiculous moments. It's believable, despite the fairy tale ending (and the utterly astonishing displays of wealth and power). For that reason alone I'd say it was worth a watch, but it also benefits from an exceptional cast. It's not packed with A-listers in a certain sense, but the performances are all top-notch. Awkwafina is her usual excellent self, Ken Jeong is, well, Ken Jeong, and it was great seeing Michelle Yeoh (Star Trek: Discovery; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) get such a meaty role, which she absolutely nails. And the final cameo of Mike Chang from Glee was a brilliant moment too 😁 On top of which, though, the actual main cast were all fantastic, particularly Rachel Wu (Constance) and Gemma Chan (Astrid), but also a special mention to the fabulous Nico Santos who was a bit of a standout even amongst such heavy hitters.
For the most part, Crazy Rich Asians is a fun ride which offers at least an interestingly different cultural backdrop. Again, I can't comment on the actual reality of what's presented, but it certainly showcases Singapore extremely well and presents some jaw-droppingly beautiful set pieces. The wedding, in particular, is just superbly designed; in fact set design throughout was brilliant! Where it falters a little is in the emotional uplift aspect, but I think it does so by sacrificing some of the more problematic elements of the genre and in many ways should be applauded for that decision. Plus, both the plane proposal sequence and the mahjong showdown are brilliantly choreographed and written, creating two excellent final story hits and leading the show out on a fair bang, even if it could have been a little more explosive (obscene fireworks display aside).