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The Big Sick- review


“The Big Sick” (2017)

Directed by Michael Showalter

Starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter

Running Time 120 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


It’s of this reviewer’s opinion that horror and romantic comedies are the hardest film genres to deliver a quality product.  They have the lowest success rate, and so when one does hit and hit well we really should appreciate such triumphs.  Appreciate the triumph that is ‘The Big Sick”.

Kumail Nanjiani wrote the film with his wife Emily V. Gordon, and they wrote what they know.  “The Big Sick” is based off their courtship where Kumail, who plays a version of himself who hasn’t broken out yet and is still hitting the local stand-up comedy circuit in Chicago who meets Emily Gardner, a grad student with a psychology degree at one of his shows and they hook up that night.  She tries to make a dash for it that night by calling an Uber, Kumail’s phone lights up, and he informs her that her ride will be ready as soon as the driver puts on his pants.  They both agree to not see each other again, and they keep agreeing on that every time they see each other the next time.    


While getting laughs from the parents trying to set up their children with a life mate is a tried and true romantic comedy shtick, what “The Big Sick” does that I’ve never seen before is get across to the viewer how important and necessary it can be culturally.  Kumail’s parents were brought together via arranged marriage, and for them it’s not only part of their religion but has also served them very well.  Kumail’s older brother is also married by arrangement, but Kumail just can’t get his mind wrapped around it and wants the opportunity to fall in love before marriage.  

Fearful of losing his family Kumail loses Emily but soon after their breakup she ends up in the hospital with a mysterious ailment that puts her in a medically induced coma.  When Emily’s parents, played by the always good Holly Hunter and the surprisingly good Ray Romano, show up to the hospital for her, they are met with Kumail’s presence. Even though they say he can go now, he stays and realizes that he really is in love with Emily.

This film is funny in a upbeat way, that director and personal comedy icon to me Michael Showalter (“This is Doris”) does with an easy going touch.  There are three great scenes with a one on one with Kumail and Hunter, a one on one with Kumail and Romano, and one with the three of them at one of his stand up gigs that is insightful, infuriating, adorable, and hilarious.  

“The Big Sick” feels effortless and so easy going to get it’s big laughs and big emotions.  Let’s hear it for the romantic comedy of 2017.

1 Corinthians 9:20


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