The Big Sick

Studio: Amazon Studios
Directed by Michael Showalter

Jun 26, 2017 Web Exclusive
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It’s hard to imagine anyone ever asking Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon how they met and not responding to the subsequent story with “Wow. That should be a movie.” The happy result of this hypothetical encouragement is The Big Sick, which dramatizes the bizarre and touching circumstances of their early relationship. Produced and written by the couple and directed by The State and Wet Hot American Summer vet Michael Showalter, The Big Sick stars Nanjiani as, well, Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani immigrant trying to break into the Chicago comedy scene. Zoe Kazan subs in for Emily, a grad student he meets at a comedy club. Their blossoming romance hits two enormous roadblocks: Kumail’s conservative family, who insist he marry another Pakistani, and a mysterious disease that lands Emily in a coma.

On paper, it sounds over-the-top wacky and saccharine, but The Big Sick treats its subject matter seriously and mines humor from the characters realistically reacting to awkward and extreme situations. Nanjiani is suitably charming as a leading man, but the real scene stealers are Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, who turn in delightful, heartfelt performances as Emily’s parents, forced to care for their ailing daughter with a comedian that they just met.

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Author rating: 7/10

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