‘The Big Sick’ Review – A Hilarious & Sweet, Cross-Cultural Comedy
It’s the age-old story. Boy meets girl, they’re from different backgrounds but fall in love, girl falls into a coma… What makes this wonderfully sweet and funny story even more special, is it’s actually true (mostly).
‘The Big Sick’ is written by ‘Silicon Valley’ star Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon, and is based on a real-life event which happened in the first year of them dating. Emily had gone to the hospital having had some cold-like symptoms and strange body aches. She thought she’d be in and out in an hour, but things are a lot more serious than she realises, and ends up being placed in a medically induced coma. This event turns out to be the first time her, relatively new, boyfriend Kumail meets Emily’s parents.
Add to that, the fact that Kumail, whose parents are insisting on setting up an arranged marriage for him, has yet to tell them he is dating a white girl, and you have the hilarious, sweet, cross-cultural love story that is ‘The Big Sick’. Whilst you know where the movie is going (the real Kumail & Emily are married and wrote the film together after all), the story of the unexpected journey that brought them to that point makes for a wonderful film.
The movie version of Emily is played by Zoe Kazan (‘The Deuce’, ‘Olive Kitteridge’, ‘Revolutionary Road’), gives a wonderful performance as an intelligent but vulnerable character, and Kumail is, well, Kumail, not that I mean that as a negative. He is, after all, playing a version of himself! Emily’s parents are played by Ray Romano & Holly Hunter, who brilliantly portray the anxious mother and father dealing, not only with a sick daughter, but a weird interloping boyfriend who they’ve never met. There are also some great turns from Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler as Kumail stand up comic friends, and Zenobia Shroff, Anupam Kher, Adeel Akhtar, and Shenaz Treasurywala as Kumail’s family. Shroff, in particular, stands out as Kumail’s well-meaning, but formidable mother.
The film is produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Michael Showalter (‘Wet Hot American Summer’), but is a far subtler comedy that you might expect from that combination. ‘The Big Sick’ is a witty and delightful romantic comedy, with the interesting twist that one side of the couple spends half the movie in a coma.