This movie will make you fall in love with romantic comedies again. It's not so much that Crazy Rich Asians' storyline is original as it is well done; it rarely goes for the cliché. Romcoms have a tendency to portray their heroines as somewhat bumbling, not quite having their act together. But that's not Rachel Chu: She's capable, clever, and in control. She may be temporarily thrown off by the unfriendlies in Nick's life, but she never loses her footing. She's a well-drawn, down-to-earth character who isn't so much relatable as aspirational, and Wu plays her to a tee. The other women in the cast are great, too. Yeoh adds depth to the icy mother who sees Rachel as a threat to her family. And as Nick's glamorous cousin Astrid, Gemma Chan gives a meaty performance as her character deals with the complexities of a marriage in which the wife is rich and the husband is not in a traditional male-driven society. But it's Awkwafina who runs away with the show, inspiring peals of laughter as Rachel's college buddy, Goh Peik Lin, who speaks with a Miley Cyrus-type cadence, attitude, and delivery. Every scene with her in it is 10 times funnier, and when Ken Jeong is added to the mix as her father, the duo make a comic combination that leaps off the screen.
It's impossible not to notice the movie's lingering shots of men's bare chests, but this reverse objectification is subversively intentional: Asian men are rarely portrayed as sexy or appealing in the media, and the drooling cinematography is intended to challenge the idea that Asian men are undesirable. And amid all the humor and attempts to overthrow the anti-Asian bias in Hollywood movies, director Jon M. Chu also delivers a lovely love story. One scene in particular: During a preposterously over-the-top wedding, the audience is brought to tears by a touching affirmation that, no matter the pain and pleasure that money brings, it's still love that makes the world go round. Crazy Rich Asians will end up on the Best Romantic Comedies in History list because it's actually not about getting the guy; Rachel proves that the greatest love of all is loving yourself (and your mama!).