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Crazy Rich Asians - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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Crazy Rich Asians
Wikipedia link: Crazy Rich Asians
(US, 2018, 121 minutes)

Rachel (Constance Wu), an economics professor, is dating Nick (Henry Golding). He invites her to Singapore to attend his best friend's wedding. Secrets turn up that complicate their relationship, most notably that Nick is from a fantastically wealthy family, which makes lots of women who knew Nick jealous and hostile toward Rachel.

7 Good The film was written by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, adapting from a Peter Kwan novel of the same title. I haven't read the book, so I can't attest to the quality of the script as an adaptation, but Kwan was pleased enough to make a cameo appearance in the film. As a script, it manages to wrangle a huge ensemble cast into a comprehensible story. It follows the general conventions of romantic comedy, and while it includes the customary relationship crisis, it manages not to base that crisis on a stupid, easily-resolved misunderstanding. I rate it good.

The directing, by Jon M Chu, also manages to keep the huge ensemble comprehensible, which is probably the most impressive accomplishment of the film. The comedy is uneven; some of it is based on the presumed humor of laughing at rich people for their ostentation. That type of gag fell flat for me; the film presented the ultra-rich as obsessively status conscious, and I can't imagine such status-conscious people resorting to such tacky ostentation. Certainly some new-rich are tacky, but the characters in the film didn't seem like that type of new-rich. Those gags grated, rather than making me laugh. The rest of the comedy worked, however. Most of the relationship drama in the film felt real, including the sweet romance between Rachel and Nick, several not-so-sweet romances between other characters, and the generational tensions in various families.

I found all of the acting solid. Constance Wu and Henry Golding were both very good, and excellent when on screen together. Michelle Yeoh was excellent as Nick's mother. Gemma Chan was excellent as Nick's cousin. Lisa Lu was good as the matriarch of Nick's family. Awkwafina, in a comedic role, was very good at the comedy side, but only fair as an actress. There were lots of other people with significant acting parts, but I don't remember their performances individually.

Although the jokes about absurd ostentation generally fell flat, the rest of the comedy was solid, and the relationship drama was good. Overall, I rate the film good. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt because I watched it mostly with subtitles because I could only use my earbuds through about the second quarter of the film.

Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Hokkien, with English subtitles.

Rating: This film has a US rating of "PG-13", for some "suggestive content and language".

Screening: 10 pm Eastern Time, on a Jet Blue flight.
Audience: one.

Snacks: orange juice, and maybe an airline cracker.

Ads and announcements: Jet Blue promotional messages.

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