I came out of the advance screening of Crazy Rich Asians with a stellar opinion. It was a well directed film with every comedic Asian actor or actress you can think of bringing their A-Game, but it uses the rom-com formula popularized in the late 90’s that I have seen so much of. The movie is very similar to some of the best rom-coms: The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, Mean Girls, etc. In fact, Crazy Rich Asians shares most its plot with The Wedding Singer. A predictable plot like this usually wouldn’t give me the satisfaction that this movie did. So why did it? I think It’s because of rom-coms like I Feel Pretty, Every Day, Everything Everything, and others like it. I don’t have a negative opinion of any of those aforementioned movies, but they felt like nobody cared while making it. The actors and actresses did half-assed performances, the directors felt like they were just filling out a template that was cliche two decades ago, and they feel small. They don’t feel like a theater worthy movie worth the ever growing price of admission.
Crazy Rich Asians is the opposite of something like I Feel Pretty. All performances feel passionate no matter the screen time, the writing and directing feel unique and well done, and it feels like an event film. The sweeping shots of the landscapes, the beautiful parties, the FOOD! They all feel like a film with a huge budget, despite costing 3 million less than I Feel Pretty. However, I don’t think this is a perfect film by any means. The pacing can be off, some jokes are overused, and the plot is nothing you haven’t seen fifty times before, and sometimes it brings interesting topics up and doesn’t explore them enough. I also don’t see this being memorable in the long run. Overall though, this film is a funny, heartwarming, and star-studded look at class differences and asian culture that is a breath of fresh air that could bring the rom-com back.
I give Crazy Rich Asians an B+.