Crazy for Crazy Rich Asians


Lochan Mourty

The new blockbuster rom-com, Crazy Rich Asians proves to be the most diverse Hollywood movie in decades. (photo by Lochan Mourty)

Lochan Mourty, Staff Writer

New ethnic Hollywood movie revives dying rom-com genre

Crazy Rich Asians, the hit rom-com based off of the novel written by Kevin Kwan, made its mark in theaters on Aug. 5.

The production currently holds impressive ratings and outstanding box office results that have proven two things: the once-faltering rom-com genre will be picking back up within this next year, and Hollywood is finally shining its spotlight on the industry’s talented Asian actors and actresses.

Crazy Rich Asians, rated PG-13, has already seen an explosion of success; Rotten Tomatoes has the rom-com at 93 percent certified fresh with an audience score of 86 percent, and Common Sense Media gave it five out of five stars. All of this praise is a testament to the movie’s widespread popularity.

In addition to this, the box office is also showing some amazing results. On the very first weekend after its release, Crazy Rich Asians bagged $26.5 million domestically, and it has currently crossed nearly $111 million from North American theaters just two and a half weeks after its release.

These results are monumental for the rom-com genre, crowning it one of the biggest movies of its kind to have done so well domestically in over a decade. Due to the stereotypes surrounding female rom-com leads and the unrealistic love stories that have become all too common, romantic comedies have been low in popularity for a while now.

However, with a fresh and relatable plot to back it, Crazy Rich Asians is swinging rom-coms back into the pop culture game. The last of the genre to open at number one was Think Like a Man 2, released in 2014, while Amy Schumer’s 2015 Train Wreck was the last to earn a total over $100 million in sales.

Thanks to the film’s director, Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians has also helped set the stage for true multi-ethnic representation in the industry, since it is the only Hollywood movie boasting a majority Asian cast since the Joy Luck Club, which was released in 1993. This set high expectations on the rom-com and made it something to look forward to, and, for the most part, the film did not disappoint.

However, the rom-com could not escape backlash. Despite its diversity, the film was still criticized by many viewers for generally not being “Asian enough,” and there was controversy over the casting of actor Henry Golding due to his father being from England.

Hollywood might have been trying to whitewash the movie just a little bit by adding an Americanized actor into the cast; however, this does not seem like much of an issue, since Golding pulled off the character very well.

Despite facing criticisms such as this, Crazy Rich Asians has stood strong against the extreme pressure it faces. It is impossible to satisfy the entire Asian community with only one film, but the movie does manage to break some prominent Asian stereotypes.Asian characters are almost always part of the side cast, and they are usually weak and nerdy characters with little unique qualities. Crazy Rich Asians has laid that stereotype to rest by providing characters of all different personality types.

Regardless of all of the stereotype issues and the deep topics reflected in the movie, however, the way that audiences were able to connect and engage with the rom-com in theaters proves that Crazy Rich Asians is, at its base, a funny and lighthearted production with dramatic flairs to keep viewers hooked. It is one of those feel-good movies that anyone can enjoy with friends and family on any day at any time – in other words, it’s definitely worth a watch.