The Big Sick Reviewed
The Big Sick is a mostly autobiographical story about Kumail Nanjiani and his girlfriend at the time Emily (Zoe Kazan). Kumail is from Pakistan and driving for Uber while trying to be a successful stand-up comic. During one of his shows, he gets heckled by Emily, which provides a nice meet-cute and a little cute meeting, if you know what I mean (they have sex). And while Kumail likes Emily, he knows his parents expect him to marry a Pakistani woman. This leads to a big blow-out fight where they break-up and she tells him not to call her again and he doesn't – until she winds up in the hospital.
At times it felt weird to laugh at the movie, especially when the situation is life or death. When you are laughing at the story's uncomfortable moments you may find yourself looking around to see if anyone is giving you the side eye. Kumail's writing and jokes are funny enough that sometimes you forget where you are.
Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are also fantastic as Emily's parents. They have a fairly large amount of screen time and serve as the surrogate for Emily as she is stuck in the hospital. Romano goes beyond his awkward sitcom dad role and is able to add some depth thanks to the background his character is given. Holly Hunter gives what may be my favorite performance in the movie as Emily's strong-willed mother. Her relationship with her daughter felt intimate, even in small moments like the touching of a face. It all felt genuine.
The Big Sick feels a little bit like the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen movie 50/50. But that was a good movie too and it was great to see something like that again. And while there are similar beats, it never feels like a direct copy because – well – it really happened. Perhaps that's not a good enough reason to forgive any of the story's minor missteps, such as how plot points at time feel too convenient. The honesty portrayed makes it hard not to root for everyone in one of the best romantic-dramedies I've seen in some time. A-