Sitting in the squishy cinema seats waiting for the preview screening of Crazy Rich Asians made me nervous.
As an Australian-born-Chinese person, there are certain representations of your culture that you see on the big screens that always make you cringe. Masterchef is the rare exception, but at times there are certain stereotypes that range from cringey to down-right offensive.
You see, Crazy Rich Asians is the escapist rom-com that takes everything we’ve guiltily missed about the golden age of chick flicks and has turned it into a Gossip Girl, Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada like affair but set against the backdrop of Singapore’s elite.
Throw in the Royal Wedding of Asia, and you’ve got yourself a winning combo.
It follows the much-loved trope of a Cinderella story-line, but in this case the wannabe Princess is a feisty economics professor at New York University called Constance Wu (Rachel Chu) while Prince Charming is called Nick Young (Henry Golding) who is the heir to his family's old-money empire that gives the British crown a run for its money.
The Youngs and their social circle make up Singapore's richest and most prestigious bubble. They mingle with foreign royalty and heads of state, live in mansions and penthouse apartments and buy apartment blocks, companies and goodness knows what else over the phone.
Together they go to Singapore - Nick's home town, for the wedding of this best friend Colin Khoo (Chris Pang) and Araminta Lee (Sonoya Mizuno). More importantly, the trip also marks the first time Rachel is meeting Nick's mother (Michelle Yeoh), who does not approve of her.
On the surface level Crazy Rich Asians takes the story-line of the dissenting mother-in-law and plays it out against the lavish backdrop of Singapore - a city who's opulence gives the tried and true backdrop of New York City and it's Upper East Side a run for its money. The island city's iconic buildings make an appearance - like the Flower Dome - AKA the world's biggest greenhouse, the acclaimed 57-storey Marina Bay Sands luxury resort and the beautiful Supertree Grove - and meld perfectly with the high-flying and eccentric characters.
Awkwafina from Ocean's 8 is one of the highlights and steals the majority of the laughs as Goh Peik Lin - Rachel's brazen, nouveau riche sometimes-chauffeur-and-stylist friend who keeps no less than three changes of clothing in the trunk of her luxe sports car.