Well this was a cute, dumb, emotional time. Rom-coms aren’t really one of my loves, which can’t be because of cheesiness given how much I go for things like the cosmically silly Star Trek series, so my current theory is that it’s probably for the same reason that I’ve never really gone in for Jane Austen. Which is absolutely what this movie is at its base. Austen meets Cinderella, but then make it Asian. A big cast of high-strung weirdos, rags to riches, but Asian. Crazy. Rich. ASIANS. That addition is a GOOD ONE. It’s probably not supposed to be the whole reason why I liked this movie, but it is. I’m supposed to tell you that in addition to being a representation revelation, ‘it’s also a really fun rom-com!’ But honestly, all the fun I had was absolutely with who was having it. And that really was a cinematic treat.
Also, like most rom-coms, it is undeniably its greatest when it embraces the fact that the most meaningful relationship is not between the man and woman at the ostensible center at all. Here, it’s Constance Wu’s plucky Asian-American heroine and her boyfriend’s silk & steel Chinese mother, Michelle Yeoh. The climactic scene in this movie is a pivotal mahjong game, incredible, with just the two of them and a couple half-deaf grandmothers. And that is why you buy your ticket.
That, and because the affably zany Awkwafina gets approximately four times the opportunity to show how funny she is than she got in Ocean’s 8. And because of the food montage in the night market scene.
And because there’s that particular moment of catharsis that yeah, only a romantic comedy can give you; that thing were you just *burst* into a joyous flood of tears as someone to your left flings both arms up in the air in celebration and someone behind your right shoulder cheers aloud and then everyone’s just laughing and clapping and wiping at their cheeks.
Oh my god I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it again! Shit, maybe I am a rom-com person….
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