Pierre Png (who plays Michael Teo) and Tan Kheng Hua (who plays Rachel's mom, Kerry Chu) are Singaporean TV stars. Only when Nick takes Rachel to a buddy's wedding in Singapore does she discover his family is richer than God. Young is the princely heir of the family business, which he has temporarily fled but is still expected to soon takeover.
"Box office still matters", said Awkwafina, who portrays Goh Peik Lin in the movie. While Rachel is American, that's not particularly the issue Nick's mother has with her. Rachel blends in relatively well - she speaks the language and largely knows the customs, thanks to her Chinese immigrant mother - to be Chinese enough to count.
When "Crazy Rich Asians", a film by Jon M. Chu that is adapted from the best-selling book series by Kevin Kwan, hits theaters on August 15, it will be a rare Hollywood movie that thrusts Singapore into the global spotlight.
The story may be simple at first, but it's not just Cinderella dressed in a new set of clothing. For one, Wu has been doing solid work for some time now, but here she delivers the kind of radiant, charismatic turn that creates movie stars overnight. Yeoh is darn near flawless as the domineering Eleanor, as she's intimidating without ever delving into clichés.
It's a timeless romance, with handsome newcomer Henry Golding in the role of Nick. "You don't even know it's possible", she said. The British-Chinese actress Gemma Chan plays a glamorous style icon named Astrid Leong, one of the few Nick's inner circle to give Rachel a warm welcome. Once that happens, there's tension between Rachel and Nick's mother Eleanor Sung-Young (played by Yeoh). The movie reminded me of so much them, about how some would leave to go to a boarding school in the United Kingdom and how quite a few of them had British accents, and how we'd all use British slang like "tuck shop" (thanks colonialism!). At the end of the day, Eleanor and Kerry, even though it may seem like they're on opposite sides, they actually share one very important quality.
"For all its carnival-like antics, "Crazy Rich Asians" is all too aware of its own spectacle", she wrote. And despite being 120 minutes, long for a romantic comedy, the film never drags.
That's what makes the mere existence of Crazy Rich Asians so outstanding. Everything from Rachel's Chinese-American parentage to her unassuming background makes her a target for the many social climbers of Singapore's elite, and when that extends up to and including certain members of the Young family, the film starts to tangle with fairly heady stuff for a film this hyper-indulgent. "[Director] Jon [M. Chu] fell down the Instagram hole and was like, 'I've got to get a hold of this dude.' We met on Skype, I sent some tapes, and they flew me to L.A. for a chemistry read". There's something curiously validating about a Hollywood romantic comedy that pauses for a mouthwatering tour of a Singapore open-air market or a makeover montage set to a Cantonese rendition of Madonna's "Material Girl".
What sets "Crazy Rich Asians" apart from other, lesser "you're not good enough for my son" movies is that almost every character is multifaceted and sympathetic.
Also undeniable? The mounting cultural expectations for "Crazy Rich Asians", but Santos said the project shouldn't have to be ideal.