“ China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep. For when she awakes, she will shake the world.” Napoleon
On top of the world economically, China is now equal to the United States in excessive consumerism. Spiraling personal income may not be the main theme of the Cinderella story “Crazy, Rich Asians”, but the satire stems from the insane opulence portrayed. Fashion, jewels, decor, and up-scale travel rival all.
Twisting through a wedding extravaganza in Singapore is the simple romance of Rachel, ( Constance Wu ) a thirty something NYU economics prof who likes to teach game theory to her students. At spring break, Rachel and her boyfriend of 12 months are going to Singapore to meet his family and attend his cousin’s and best friend Colin’s wedding.
This is lightweight fare as we see Rachel’s mother hand her Tupperware meals before Rachel is ushered into a first class private suite by handsome and wealthy boyfriend, Nick. ( Henry Golding )
Based on a book by Kevin Kwan, “Crazy, Rich Asians” has some funny characters and lines. Gossip, Radio Asia, hits the mark, as does Rachel’s friend from uni-days, and Oliver, “ the rainbow sheep “ of the family. Amid the golden brilliance of Versailles, we hear her mother say, “Eat up, a lot of children in America are starving.” We also hear of Singapore’s butterfly gardens and movie theatres equated to New York’s despair and salmonella. Amanda, Nick’s old girl friend also adds to the thin narrative’s drama.
Matching silk pjs and 1.2 million dollar earrings float across the screen. Fast paced montages of architectural top of the world buildings shine along with gourmet delights. A week of wedding pre-partying gives us more excesses of island massages and international-ship-container-floating-bachelor rowdiness. All this leads up to Rachel not being accepted by Nick’s mother and grandmother. Chinese-American just isn’t the same as Chinese.
Guard, gates and guns stand outside the 200 million dollar enclave of the Young family. Rachel listens to Eleanor, Nick’s mother, ( Michelle Yeoh) speak of Rachel never being enough. A mahjong face -off leaves Rachel winning. Pursuing your passion and putting one’s family first meld as director Jon M. Cuy displays the most over-the-top wedding ceremony done on screen. Enjoy the dragonflies and the flower strewn stream flowing to the altar. Ten to one, some bride will copy this ~which may be the biggest satire of all.