By Dan Clendenin
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
This romantic comedy was a breakaway blockbuster last summer. It’s based upon the 2013 novel of the same title by Kevin Kwan (who has a cameo appearance in the movie). The story begins with a hilarious backstory in 1995. When the mega-rich Eleanor Young stumbles out of the rain and into a snooty London hotel, and is turned away with a racial slur by a receptionist who says he can’t find her reservation, she doesn’t get mad, she gets even. She buys the hotel! Eleanor is the overbearing mother of Nick Young, whom we meet twenty-three years later, when he has fallen in love with a young NYU economics professor named Rachel Chu. Rachel goes to Singapore with Nick in order for him to attend the best wedding of his friend and, of course, to meet his extended family. The first clue that Nick’s Asian family is “crazy rich” is at the airport curbside when an attendant takes their luggage and escorts them to their private airplane suite. But Rachel is a “commoner,” which is a set up for two hours of funny cultural clashes based upon Asian stereotypes about social status, controlling parents, foods, accents, luxury labels, elite universities, prestigious pedigrees, Mahjong, and socially acceptable jobs. Is Rachel good enough for Nick’s family? Are their vastly different backgrounds a deal killer? Maybe Nick’s family isn’t so pure and good? Is all that glitters really gold? This is only anecdotal, but my adult children tell me that all their Asian friends loved this summer time fun.
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