Directed by John M Chu – Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong, Michelle Yeoh
A man takes his girlfriend of the past year back to Singapore to attend a wedding and meet his family, and various escapades ensue as cultures and personalities clash. So far so standard rom com. And at its heart that is the basic premise of this film. Except that the man in question Nick (Golding) is secretly super wealthy, and the equivalent of royalty in his native Singapore, making his girlfriend, Rachel (Wu) the target of jealous former lovers, and disapproving family members.
You’ve probably already heard a lot about the fact that this film is making history by featuring a completely Asian cast in a mainstream movie. But this is almost irrelevant. Irrespective of race, all the characters are well-written and rounded, and in particular Michelle Yeoh brings tremendous depth to the role of Nick’s mother.
The only person that felt a bit awkwardly cast to me was Ken Jeong as Rachel’s friend’s father. He completely hams it up, and is somewhat annoying. The title actually refers to being extremely rich – not crazy in the zany sense – so he feels somewhat out of place, although he does have a couple of good lines.
Given the fact that many of the characters are supposed to be mega-wealthy, this looks sumptuous throughout. It features some amazing fashion and scenery, and an insight into the kind of lifestyle only the supremely rich enjoy. Chu takes full advantage of this opulence, and it is beautifully shot.
On the flipside, the fact that it deals with this tiny percentage of society means that you don’t get a very balanced look at Chinese culture. The Singapore we see here is very much the high end, and while it looks stunning, it would have been nice to see the rest of the city represented somehow.
This is your typical tale as old as time. A kind of Cinderella tale and that has historically proved a winning, if formulaic idea. It is fabulously, frothy, fun and had an old-fashioned feeling about it that is extremely charming.
Rom coms can be a bit hit-and-miss, but this one works, thanks to the great performances and the beautiful setting. There are some predictable moments (as is true of all films in this genre) but overall, this is engaging escapism that should satisfy those craving a dose of the warm and fuzzies.
In Cinemas Now! (Trailer below)