Movies

Movie review: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

New film is funny, wild and more than a little complicated

Review by Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 8/26/18

‘Crazy Rich Asians” is both a romantic comedy about the ridiculously nutty interactions among family members gathered for a wedding in Singapore and a commentary about ridiculously wealthy people who aren’t Americans.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Movies

Movie review: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

New film is funny, wild and more than a little complicated

Posted

‘Crazy Rich Asians” is both a romantic comedy about the ridiculously nutty interactions among family members gathered for a wedding in Singapore and a commentary about ridiculously wealthy people who aren’t Americans.

Based on a 2013 internationally acclaimed novel by Kevin Kwan, the film directed by Jon M. Chu is said to diverge from the book in many ways. The film appears to smooth out the plot, providing traditional peaks and valleys common to American audiences while offering different takes on some characters. It also gives a glimpse of possible sequels, following various threads in Kwan’s additional two books.

Those, of course, are the basics. What “Crazy Rich Asians” is really designed to do is upend western expectations, and it does so very well.

You get that right at the beginning with a short flashback to 1995 that shows a Chinese woman and her drenched kids coming in out of the rain to the lobby of a fancy hotel in San Francisco. Politely stating she has a reservation, she says to the clerk she and her family would like to be shown to their room to get out of their wet clothes.

The clerk, a racist white man, appears offended these Asian people would defile his lobby and refuses her entry. Even the manager says there is no such reservation. Rebuffed several times, she finally goes outside to use a phone booth because the clerk won’t let her use the house phone.

The person she calls is the owner of the hotel who meets her in the lobby, much to the chagrin of the men behind the counter. He demands they be taken to a suite immediately because it is her family that has just purchased the hotel.

Then, the film flashes forward to the present and a young Chinese-American woman named Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a New York college economics professor who has fallen in love with a fellow professor named Nick Young (Henry Golding). No bespectacled academic nerd types, Rachel and Nick are attractive and upwardly mobile, yet comfortable in their status. They also are nervously toying with the direction their relationship may be headed.

Rachel grew up middle class in the United States with a single mother who worked hard to put her daughter through college. Nick is a little hard to pin down, but he’s honest and humble and, even though he seems financially comfortable, doesn’t make any ostentatious displays.

That is, until he invites Rachel to attend his best friend’s wedding with him in his hometown of Singapore. Never having been to an Asian country, Rachel is both nervous and excited because the occasion will give her a chance to meet Nick’s family and help smooth the way to the possibility of a wedding of their own.

Rachel’s assumptions about Nick being merely comfortable financially fly out the window when she discovers he is from one of the wealthiest families in all of Asia. He is not just rich, he is wildly, filthy rich. And, Nick is not just a handsome brainy young man, he’s also the most eligible bachelor in half the world.

As the film unspools, we learn about the level of familial intrigue beneath the glittery and bejeweled surface, especially involving Nick’s mother, the coldly calculating Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh), who, if you didn’t guess, was that woman in the flashback. Plus, there’s also a whole crazy fabric of scheming, jealousy and conniving among other family members, many of whom are Oxford-educated, that’d probably scare anybody off.

The movie is funny and sometimes touching, but rarely predictable. Except for maybe the end, but I won’t spoil it for you.

Co-stars include Ken Jeong, Harry Shum Jr., Chris Pang, Gemma Chan and the hilarious scene-stealer Awkwafina.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and language.

It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

The following were compiled from press materials.

Alpha

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some intense peril

Mitchell Storyteller 7

An epic adventure set in the last Ice Age, this film directed by Albert Hughes tells a fascinating, visually stunning story that shines a light on the origins of man’s best friend.

While on his first hunt with his tribe’s most elite group, a young man (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is injured and must learn to survive alone in the wilderness. Reluctantly taming a lone wolf abandoned by its pack, the pair learn to rely on each other and become unlikely allies, enduring countless dangers and overwhelming odds in order to find their way home before winter arrives.

According to imdb.com, “Film cannot bear a ‘no animals were harmed in the making of this film’ tag, as four bison were slaughtered for use on a skinning/hide-removal scene. The bison were dispatched humanely by staff from Longview Beef Jerky.”

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Eighth Grade

MPAA rating: R for language and some sexual material

Movies at the TCA

Thirteen-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school — the end of her thus far disastrous eighth-grade year.

In this sharp, smart comedy the director Bo Burnham understands that some of the most pronounced extremes of teenage-hood take place in that lonely room known as our heads.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 26), and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (Aug. 27-29).

Movies at the TCA film series, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Mile 22

MPAA rating: R for strong violence and language throughout

Mitchell Storyteller 7

CIA operative James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) leads a small but lethal paramilitary team on an urgent and dangerous mission. They must transport a foreign intelligence asset with sensitive information from an American embassy in Southeast Asia to an airfield for extraction: a distance of 22 miles. Silva and the soldiers soon find themselves in a race against time as the city’s military, police and street gangs close in to reclaim the asset. This film has been hinted at becoming the first in a film trilogy.

Film directed by Peter Berg co-stars Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich, and Ronda Rousey.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Farewell to movie reviews

These are our last Cinemafile and Film Clips columns. Tempo is transitioning toward providing more content focused on our local readers and their interests, and since so many movie reviews are available online, it has been determined locally written movie coverage is no longer needed. I do want to add that it has been my personal pleasure to write the movie reviews for you, our loyal readers, and I hope you’ll enjoy the changes to come in Tempo over the coming months.  If you wish to comment on this, please email editor@taosnews.com or call (575) 758-2241.

— Rick Romancito, Tempo editor

Comments


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.