It’s not a comedy.
A few humorous characters are friends of the romantic leads, struggling to pursue their relationship in a Chinese culture where family, specifically the matriarchs, run the show. And what does extreme wealth buy?
Based on the novel, this film absorbed me because of the gorgeous settings, filmed spectacularly (Mama Mia take note) of Singapore and surroundings. Also, likable and interesting main characters. A few minor characters were one dimensional and beyond ridiculous. And a few silly scenes, like the guys and girls’ bachelor parties. But if this was a comedy, the film would have lingered there. It didn’t. They moved forward to scenes with the real activities of Chinese families and discussions about love, family and marriage. A subplot about how money ruined a marriage…
The film felt so ‘Chinese’ that I felt like an ‘American’ staring into a different world. Loved that; it didn’t feel like a Hollywood movie. At the end of the film a dramatic scene involves a mahjong game. I have no idea what the tiles mean, but the scene lingered on the tiles as if I did and that it would communicate something to me.
I enjoyed it a lot. But only a few little chuckles embedded in some serious universal life lessons: Money doesn’t buy happiness. You marry the family.