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Blu-ray Review: Crazy Rich Asians

November 20, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Based on the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is a splashy and entertaining romantic comedy that represents a step forward in terms of onscreen diversity in major studio films.

The film tells the story of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a Chinese-American economics professor from New York, who was raised by a single mother (Tan Kheng Hua) who came to America when she was a baby so they could have a better life.

Rachel is dating a man named Nick Young (Henry Golding), who unbeknownst to her is actually from an incredibly wealthy family in Singapore, and is considered to be one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors.

When Rachel accompanies Nick home for his best friend’s (Chris Pang) wedding, she is instantly viewed as an outsider by his large family, with his strict mother Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) making no secret of the fact that she disapproves of her son dating a commoner. From here, Crazy Rich Asians follows the classic rom-com formula almost to a tee, but it does so in a deeply satisfying way, while also signifying a landmark moment in terms of representation for non-white characters in mainstream studio fare.

Director Jon M. Chu keeps the film moving at a fast pace despite the two hour running time, doing a good job of weaving together the different characters and story threads, while also splashing the screen with lavish sets and designer clothes. Much of this works as light and airy escapism, but the film also offers a bittersweet look at different cultural expectations that are driven by an adherence to status and tradition, with Rachel struggling to overcome the assumption that she is somehow lesser or unworthy merely because she wasn’t born into a prominent family.

The film is elevated by the strong performances from its almost exclusively Asian ensemble cast, with Wu and Golding making for a pair of incredibly appealing leads, and affirming their status as stars in the making. Awkwafina also steals every moment as Rachel’s former roommate Peik Lin, who is a hilarious and hugely likeable addition to the large cast of characters. This all adds up to an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding film that ranks as one of the best rom-coms in recent memory.

The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track with director Chu and author Kwan, as well as a gag reel, deleted scenes, and the featurette Crazy Rich Fun.

Crazy Rich Asians is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 120 minutes and rated PG.

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