By Vanette Colmenares
New York – The private message on my FB was, “Ganahan ka watch?” (Do you want to watch?)…and then a flyer of “CRAZY RICH ASIANS” was attached. I immediately answered yes. It was the premier showing last night, August 15, and my three friends and I just couldn’t resist.
For $11, who wouldn’t take that opportunity with a free popcorn and soda? We had reclining seats at the Cinemarts Cinema in Forest Hills, like we were in the comfort of our bedrooms. We did not have to crane our necks because our front row seats (Ann bought the last four available tickets) did justice and our heads just relaxed—surprisingly with sips of soda and munching on popcorn.
The film, from the novel of the same title by Kevin Kwan, started with a scene in New York City of an Asian family wanting a room at an exclusive, expensive hotel who were being discriminated against for their looks. Turned out that the white manager was discriminating against the new owner of the hotel, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). That was the first punch in Crazy Rich Asians. Humor-filled discrimination but truly reflective of the prevalent stereotypes here.
On that first scene, stereotyping proved to be a disaster and distasteful, just like when locals look down upon “fresh of the boat” looking people.
Anyone who is Asian can totally relate to this movie. It speaks of the blood-centric traditions of families, whether crazy rich or struggling immigrant single parent families in America. It depicts the no-nonsense millennial woman Economics teacher Rachelle Chu (Constance Wu) as well, who do not take humiliations and put-downs (you-will-never-be- enough-kind-of-melodrama) in the name of love.
Much of the film is set in Singapore, a small, beautiful and clean city, where rich boy Nick (Henry Golding) goes back to, in order to attend his friend’s wedding. I do not want to give you the details of the story, but the film depicted so many idiosyncracies of the rich: the free shopping spree and spa on an island for a bridal shower and how about a stag party on board a yacht with hundreds of beautiful women in bikini?
The short appearance of Philippine entertainment star Kris Aquino as Princess Intan adds glamour to the opulent film. She leveled up as a regal, graceful character with a fleeting one-liner, but a purposive cameo to add weight to Rachel Wu’s character who was beleaguered in an ultra-rich environment.
The depiction of Filipina maids catering to the rich was visible, a clear reflection of social reality.
Crazy means lunatic. But in this Warner Bros. film, directed by Jon Chu with an all-Asian cast, crazy rich can be cool and wacky.