‘Crazy’ gets mixed reaction in Asia


Associated Press

SINGAPORE

The craze for “Crazy Rich Asians” is hitting Asia, with a premiere in Singapore followed by openings in several neighboring countries later this week.

Much of the over-the-top romantic comedy was set in this wealthy city-state. As the stars streamed past flashing lights down the red carpet Tuesday evening, local fans and tourists swarmed around them taking photos and asking for selfies.

The movie is expected to draw enthusiastic crowds across Asia after its box-office bonanza in the U.S.

Directed by John M. Chu, the film was adapted from Singaporean author Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same name. It follows Chinese-American Rachel Chu as she travels with her boyfriend Nick Young to Singapore to meet his family and discovers they are ultra-wealthy.

The movie is drawing a mixed reaction. Admirers of the film say that as the first majority Asian-cast film in more than two decades to be released by a major Hollywood studio it upends Hollywood’s usual stereotypes of Asian characters. Critics say it misses a chance to showcase the city’s ethnic diversity.

The $30 million Warner Bros. film has grossed more than $35 million since its Aug. 15 world debut in Los Angeles and came out tops with its release in U.S. theaters over the weekend.

“This [movie] is something very personal to people, and it feels like a bigger movement than just the movie itself,” Chu, the director, told The Associated Press.

The film has drawn criticism for its inaccurate portrayal of Singapore’s ethnic diversity, with some calling it a misrepresentation of the country’s minority races. Even though a majority of its residents are Chinese, a quarter of its population are Malay, Indian, or Eurasians, with many migrant workers from surrounding countries like Bangladesh or the Philippines.

“There’s this whole notion of the movie being a triumph for representation, which is very problematic. The only Indians and Malays you see are servants,” said Nicholas Yong, a Singaporean journalist and author who saw the movie before its Singapore premiere.

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