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Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Crazy Rich Asians

“Kin” is also new to Blu-Ray this week. 

I must confess, most movies I watch with an all-Asian cast that take place in locations like Shanghai, Taiwan, or Singapore, usually involve said Asians beating the ever-loving crap out of each other. So it was certainly something different for me to watch “Crazy Rich Asians” and not have a high octane, expertly choreographed fight scene break out every ten minutes or so. That said, while these Asians may not be physically assaulting each other, their words and actions are pretty brutal in their own right.

Receiving the brunt of the abuse is Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a Chinese-American woman living in New York. Rachel is seriously dating Nick Young (Henry Golding). What she knows about Nick is that he is handsome, humble, and charming. What she doesn’t know is that his family is one of the wealthiest land owners in Singapore and that Nick’s every move—especially in regard to who he’s dating—is juicy page six fodder in the Asian community.

She learns who he is the hard way, after Nick takes her to Singapore as his date to his best friend Colin’s (Chris Pang) wedding. It’s also Nick’s opportunity to introduce the girl he intends to marry to his family, including his grandmother (Lisa Lu), whose kindly demeanor masks a nasty, spiteful streak, and his mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), whose passive-aggressive barbs at Rachel rival only the British in their subtextual stings.

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“Crazy Rich Asians” is an east meets west, princess and the pauper story—but with the gender roles reversed. Indeed, essentially all of the vitriol Rachel receives is from other women, many of whom mistakenly think Rachel is a gold-digger. The mother and grandmother are only the tip of the iceberg of Rachel’s chilling reception. Rachel is invited to a bachelorette party by Colin’s fiancée Araminta (Sonoya Mizuno). At the party, she is manipulated by an ex-girlfriend of Nick’s (Jing Lusi) who subtly toys with Rachel mentally and emotionally. The sequence culminates with a distraught Rachel heading back to her room only to be confronted by a very gruesome surprise.

In spite of these harsher and more dramatic aspects of the movie, “Crazy Rich Asians” never forgets to have a good time. A montage showing how word has spread about Rachel and Nick’s relationship is breezy fun. After Nick and Rachel arrive in Singapore, it’s quickly made clear that a) New York City needs to drastically improve its airports and b) Singapore is a hot spot destination for fantastic street food that has been perfected and passed down over generations. I’ve never wanted a nice, big, hot plate of rice stick noodles so much in my life. As a matter of fact, that is my special recommendation: Rent it and watch it while enjoying a healthy helping of Singapore stir fry. It’ll fill you up and set the mood all at the same time.

More New Releases: “Kin,” in which an ex-convict and his brother are forced on the run by a vengeful criminal, starring James Franco, Carrie Coon, Zoë Kravitz, and Dennis Quaid; and “Little Italy,” about two lovers who must put up with a war between their families' competing pizza restaurants, starring Hayden Christensen, Emma Roberts, Alyssa Milano, Danny Aiello, Andrea Martin, and Jane Seymour.

Andrew Hudak is a lifelong film lover. His column on Blu-Ray new releases appears every Tuesday. He lives in Connecticut.

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