The film “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018) directed by Jon M. Chu is one of the highest grossing romantic-comedy films of all time and is the first film in 25 years to have an all Asian cast in Hollywood. This rom-com was adapted from a novel also titled “Crazy Rich Asians” written by Kevin Kwan. “Crazy Rich Asians” not only broke box-office records, it also increased representation of Asian-Americans in Hollywood.
The film centers around Rachel and Nick, a young couple living in New York. Nick and Rachel have been dating for quite some time, and Nick invites Rachel to go with him to his best friend’s wedding in his home of Singapore. As Rachel and Nick leave on their trip to Singapore, Rachel (who was born and raised as a part of the middle-class) begins to realize Nick’s secret; his family is insanely wealthy.
When the couple arrives in Singapore, Rachel learns that Nick is one of the most “eligible bachelors” in all of Singapore, and women are fighting to be with Nick. Rachel, who has never once been in the spotlight, gets to know Nick’s elite and eccentric family, as well as learn the ways of extremely wealthy socialites.
The comedic elements of the film are not solely represented through one-liners and jokes, but rather a much deeper social meaning. The film focuses around a female protagonist, who, in the end of the film, is the one person to make the biggest choice that determines her and Nick’s future as a couple. Rachel is the one who is given the choice whether or not to marry Nick, as marrying Nick would force him to break off ties with his mother, who disapproves of their relationship. Rachel loves Nick, but also wants for him to be able to have a relationship with his mother.
These power dynamics are very interesting and quite ironic, as the middle-class woman is the one who is making this major decision for an extremely wealthy man.
This irregular shift in power dynamics is very comedic, because in today’s world, all too often, money equals power, but in this instance it didn’t. In addition to money, Nick is also a man, and it is a “norm” in society for the man to make major choices in a relationship. The woman of normal economic status was the one making the decision that would impact Nick’s entire family with either choice she made.
Rachel made the decision to not marry Nick out of love for him, as she did not want him to lose contact with his family. But, in the end, Nick proposes to Rachel with his mother’s ring, and reveals that she has given them her blessing to marry.
The comedic element of irony is quite present in this film, and it is used to reveal the roles of gender and class, and how our views of them impact our perception of the world. Personally, I found it quite comedic that Rachel was the one to make the choice, when Nick and his family are of elite social status and great wealth.
I now realized after more closely analyzing the comedy in this film that it has a much deeper and socially rooted meaning, as it discusses the issues of gender and wealth, and how we view people according to these factors.