ORI­ENT EX­CESS

Llanelli Star - - Film Reviews -

CRAZY RICH ASIANS (12A)

IF RICHARD CUR­TIS trans­planted one of his frothy ro­man­tic come­dies full of beau­ti­ful, priv­i­leged peo­ple fall­ing in love across the class di­vide to the Far East, the re­sult would be strik­ingly sim­i­lar to Crazy Rich Asians.

Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Jon M Chu’s crowd-pleas­ing con­fec­tion re­lies on well-worn genre tropes and lov­ingly gift-wraps ev­ery lux­u­ri­ous frame in the splen­dour of mod­ern-day Sin­ga­pore.

Chu’s film in­vests al­most two hours show­cas­ing the south-east Asian state’s breath-tak­ing beaches, spec­tac­u­lar high-rise ho­tels, de­signer bou­tiques and mouth-wa­ter­ing street food.

If the is­land wasn’t al­ready high on your list of dream hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions, it will be be­fore the end cred­its roll.

Scriptwrit­ers Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim don’t stray from tried and tested rom-com con­ven­tions and they arm the good-look­ing all-Asian cast with some crisp one-lin­ers in­clud­ing some stand­out barbs from Awk­wa­fina, who was last seen steal­ing scenes and jew­els in Ocean’s 8.

The up­beat sound­track seam­lessly melds east and west with Chi­nese Man­darin cover ver­sions of fa­mil­iar hits in­clud­ing Money (That’s What I Want), Madonna’s Ma­te­rial Girl and Cold­play’s an­them Yel­low.

New York Univer­sity lec­turer Rachel Chu (Con­stance Wu) has been raised in Amer­ica by her sin­gle mother Kerry (Tan

Kheng Hua), who wor­ries about her daugh­ter’s sense of cul­tural iden­tity.

“I’m so Chi­nese, I’m an eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor who’s lac­tose in­tol­er­ant,” jok­ingly re­torts Rachel.

The tug of war be­tween East and West in­ten­si­fies when Rachel’s boyfriend Nick (Henry Gold­ing) in­vites her to ac­com­pany him to Sin­ga­pore to at­tend the wed­ding of good friends Colin (Chris Pang) and Aram­inta (Sonoya Mizuno). Rachel is bliss­fully un­aware that Nick is the golden boy of Sin­ga­pore’s wealth­i­est dy­nasty headed by fe­ro­cious ma­tri­arch Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), who ex­pects her boy to take up the reins of the fam­ily busi­ness and marry into money.

Eleanor is deeply unim­pressed with lowly aca­demic Rachel as Nick’s choice of part­ner and the mother makes clear her in­tent to re­mind her son of his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“When chil­dren are away from home too long they for­get who they are,” she ob­serves coldly.

Mean­while, Rachel sup­ports Nick’s cousin Astrid (Gemma Chan) as her mar­riage frac­tures and the new ar­rival pre­pares for the wed­ding with a makeover cour­tesy of her fash­ion­con­scious friend Goh

Peik Lin (Awk­wa­fina) and Nick’s flam­boy­ant sec­ond cousin

Oliver (Nico

San­tos), who play­fully de­scribes him­self as “the rain­bow sheep of the fam­ily”.

Crazy Rich Asians is a sweet and heart­felt frolic through the bat­tle­fields of love, which de­liv­ers a full com­ple­ment of up­roar­i­ous laugh­ter and tugged heart­strings.

Wu and Gold­ing, mak­ing his fea­ture film de­but, are a de­light­ful on-screen pair­ing while Yeoh keeps her fiercely pro­tec­tive mother the right side of car­i­ca­ture.

A pro­logue set in a rain­drenched 1995 Lon­don is hard to swal­low but the rest of di­rec­tor Chu’s silky-smooth cock­tail goes down a treat.

Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor, Henry Gold­ing as Nick and Con­stance Wu as Rachel Awk­wa­fina as Goh Peik Lin Rachel and Astrid (Gemma Chan)

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