Sunday, August 19, 2018

REVIEW: Crazy Rich Asians (live action movie)

Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy-drama based on Kevin Kwan's novel of the same title. I haven't read the book yet, although it's on my TBR.

I didn't pay much attention to the book when it first came out because the cover made it look like women's fiction about rich people being bitchy to each other. Then the movie came out, and I kept seeing romance marketing, which made it look much more like my thing.

So, the story: Rachel Chu is an economics professor whose boyfriend, Nick Young, has asked her to come with him to Singapore to meet his family. Nick has to go back anyway because he's going to be the best man at his best friend's wedding, so this seems like a good time. Rachel agrees and rapidly discovers that she knows less about Nick's life than she thought. His family is old money, and many people in his life, including his beloved mother, instantly judge Rachel to be unworthy of him. Even if she manages to stand up to them, there's still the issue of the choices she and Nick would have to make in order for the two of them to remain together.

I enjoyed this, although I could see areas that I suspect were fleshed out more in the book. For example, I wanted to see a little more of what made Nick worth dealing with, say, the stuff at the bachelorette party - viewers only got a few sweet scenes between Nick and Rachel. Also, the ending didn't address the issue of Nick and his family's business and Rachel's life in New York at all. The two of them still had to figure something out that would work for both of them. Granted, considering the book has several sequels, it might not have addressed this either.

I've seen this movie called a romantic comedy (rather than comedy-drama) a few times, which I think sets up the wrong sort of expectations. There were only a few parts of the movie that made me laugh out loud. For example, the scene where Rachel's friend jumped at the chance to attend a Young family party and literally had several garment bags labeled for various occasions in her trunk ("walk of shame," "cocktail party") was great. For the most part, though, the movie was a bunch of scenes where rich people were ridiculously over-the-top rich (the wedding was a gorgeous example of this) and occasionally horrible in ways that made me gasp out loud.

I was initially prepared for Nick to have rose-colored glasses where Astrid, his cousin, was concerned. He considered her the family member he was closest to and, thankfully, she was as decent and kind-hearted as Nick had said she was (although I was so jealous of the ridiculous amount of money she could spend on a whim). I got invested enough in Astrid's storyline to hope that either there's a movie sequel that gives her a happy ending, or that one of the books gives her a happy ending.

Let's see, what else? The ending (from the point where Nick's mother revealed what she'd found out, to the very end) was, for the most part, wonderful and bumped my overall opinion of the movie up a notch. The period where Rachel refused to get out of bed irked me a bit, even though I understood her reaction - I found myself thinking that she was very lucky that she had a wealthy friend who could give her a place to stay and do nothing except be sad. But I absolutely loved her final conversation with Nick's mother, and the scene on the plane made me tear up.

Watching this increased my desire to read the book, although it'll have to wait until sometime after October.

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