This film and the book it was based on has received quite a bit of buzz about being one of the few films that feature an all Asian cast. In this case ‘Asian’ is used in a highly restricted sense of being just Singaporeans of Chinese ethnicity. No other groups made an appearance other than in bit parts.
The first half of the film can be categorized as ‘wealth porn’ where we are regaled with the lifestyles of exceedingly rich Singapore Chinese families who show that they can be as obnoxiously ostentatious about flaunting their wealth as any gauche Westerner. At that point I was going to give up on the film but the sunk-cost effect kicked in and I thought I might as well watch a bit more.
The second half turned out to be marginally better but was still a trite love story about the scion of a wealthy, old money Singapore family falling in love with a brilliant young Chinese-American woman who comes from a single-mother, working class background. This allows for the usual ‘disapproving and protective mother of the rich boy’ trope to be mercilessly pushed and for various clichés to be uttered, such as how Asian women put family first while Western women put self-fulfillment first, and the importance that family background should play in marriage arrangements in Asian cultures.
I expected to see a satire of wealthy Asian elites but it turned out to be basically a romantic comedy, a genre that I am not particularly fond of because they seem largely repetitive, set against a backdrop of conspicuous wealth. Frankly, the film was a waste of time.
Normally I would show the trailer but in this case I thought that this review by The Onion‘s Peter K. Rosenthal is much better than any official trailer because it is funnier than the film itself.