The first major Hollywood production in years to boast an all-Asian cast, this is precisely the movie entertainment we need at the end of summer―funny, refreshing, giddy and emotionally satisfying.
Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an economics professor in Manhattan, is invited by her swampingly handsome boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to be his plus-one at a wedding back in his hometown of Singapore. Like a prince playing commoner, he hasn’t told Rachel he comes from a fabulously rich family. (What is it with princes?)
Her introduction to Nick’s conspicuously consuming circle of friends and relations is a rude awakening―she’s like a minnow dropped into a shark tank.
At times the extravagance and petty snobbery of these bajillionaires can cause bling fatigue: Mansions! Jewels! Parties! It’s The Great Gatsby by a factor of 10.
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But the story is constructed from sturdy themes―duty to one’s family (Nick is expected to head the Young empire) versus duty to one’s heart―that are neatly worked out for us. It helps, also, that we come to admire the strength and resourcefulness of both Rachel and her prime foe, Henry’s overprotective mother (beautiful, formidable Michelle Yeoh).
As in all good fairy tales, the size of the palace turns out to be irrelevant. (Aug. 15, PG-13)