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  • Touted as the Asian "Black Panther" with a phenomenal 94% "Certified Fresh" Rotten Tomatoes rating, Crazy Rich Asians is undoubtedly a box-office and a critical success. The positive, almost canonizing, reviews allude to how significantly groundbreaking this film is for the Asian community, both culturally and in terms of opening mainstream doors for Asian actors in Hollywood. I thought I should check what the hype is all about. The movie is, of course, based on the 2013 international bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan. It presents the story of two young lovers in New York, Nick Young (Henry Golding) and Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), both NYU professors, who spend their spring break in Nick's hometown, Singapore, upon his best friend's invitation to be his best man at his wedding. In true Asianovela fashion, Rachel has no idea how rich Nick's family is and gets the surprise, er shock, of her life when she learns how insanely opulent they truly are when she arrives in Singapore. The first two-thirds of the film is spent showcasing the seemingly grandiose and exclusive lifestyle of the Youngs and the other prominent families of the Lion City. Hence, you get an insider look at a soiree hosted by Nick's mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), complete with a viewing party for the Tan Hua flowers that bloom only once a year and die by sunrise. You also become a virtual guest at both a bachelor and a bachelorette party, one on a barge-turned-dance-club in the middle of the ocean and one on an island where the ladies engage in all-expenses-paid shopping and pampering. And, of course, a front pew to Nick's best friend's wedding where the bride literally walks on water for her bridal march! Oh, by the way, Kris Aquino's character, Princess Intan, a Malay royalty, makes a nicely understated cameo in the same wedding. Through all of these muddle, we easily identify with Rachel's awkwardness in and wide-eyed amazement with all the splendor she experiences first-hand. We empathize with her as she tries to gain the approval and acceptance of Nick's family, as she is regarded as bereft of a true rich Chinese lineage having been born into a broken home and well, having been born as just a Chinese-American citizen. Apparently, the mainland Chinese find the "other" Chinese born anywhere else in the world inferior in every way and feel that the two should never intertwine. The remaining third of the movie is the mandatory boy-woes-girl-back fairy-tale ending that is ever present in Hollywood romcoms. The story is simple, really, and has been told numerous times in past movies. Poor girl falls in love with a rich boy and must overcome all obstacles to claim that happy ending. Filipinos are definitely no strangers to this familiar narrative. That explains why the cinema audience lapped up every scene with gusto. Strong performances from the lead actors, Golding, Wu, and Yeoh, made an otherwise clich

    Crazy Rich Asians - A young Asian-American woman travels to meet her boyfriend's family, only to fin...
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     Sun, 9 Sep 2018 1:31 PM  More Reviews