“Crazy Rich Asians” Breathes New Life into the Meet-the-Family Style of Rom Coms

  • So before we talk about the trailer itself, can we take a second to talk about its song selection at the end of the trailer? Does anyone else find it hilarious that they chose a sample from a Macklemore single in a movie where they attempted to whitewash the main character? I mean, that’s almost a little to on the nose. It’s not like there’s a current alternative band that features an Asian vocalist with a hook like “Everybody wants to be famous.” Or more established bands that have an Asian frontman or frontwoman. Or a famous band like, I don’t know, Journey that got an Asian star to become their new lead singer. Or an entire catalog of Asian-American hip hop artists… Wait, all of those are actual things?

    1. How did I know not about these things? I think about these things constantly.
    2. These discoveries evoke the same feeling as I did when when watching the Crazy Rich Asians trailer: utter bewilderment followed by joy.

    Oddly specific gripes about the music selection aside: I. Am. Here. For. This.

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    Based off Kevin Kwan’s novel and directed by Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu of Fresh Off the Boat fame) going overseas for her boyfriend’s best friend’s wedding and immediately receiving a giant culture shock after it’s discovered that her boyfriend, Nick Young (newcomer Henry Golding), is the “Asian Prince William/Harry” and heir to the largest developer in Singapore. Their visit quickly escalates from destination wedding to a crash course of Asia’s rich and famous where Rachel needs to earn the approval of Young Matriarch, Eleanor Sung-Young (Michelle Yeoh). It’s a pretty quintessential Asian-American story of the disconnect between “knowing of” and “experiencing” the culture, just taken to the fantastical level that we want cinema to take us to.

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    The fish out of water story is nothing new. The romcom tropes are in full effect. But Crazy Rich Asians has a full marquee of fantastic Asian comedic actors and beautiful set pieces. It promises to look at the particular nuances of tradition versus modernity in a critical lens that’s particular to to a subset of the American population that doesn’t often see itself at the center or at least not at the staggering frequency of every single “group of friends in New York, that just all happen to be very white” show and movie we get every other month. It looks fully prepared to dive into the strange conflict between “Asian” and “Asian-American,” and have some interesting conversations.

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    It’s so nice to see someone who looks like you on the silver screen. It’s so nice to see a similar (certainly not exact) experience. But most importantly, it made me smile and honestly, that’s all I want from film these days.

    Crazy Rich Asians comes to a theater near you this August.

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    • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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