A lot to love. So this is about a Pakistani comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) who falls in love with a white girl (Zoe Kazan) in Chicago. They come from very different backgrounds, and the differences between cultures causes them to hit a rough patch. When she contracts a serious disease, he has to interact closely with her family, and it could end up defining their entire relationship. This was something that I was interested in, but being honest, it was actually my wife that pushed me over the edge and got me to see this in theaters. I’ve liked this comedian for a short while now (he’s a great person to follow on Twitter), and I’m just going to go ahead and say it: this is a breakout performance he delivers here.
He is a talent that deserves to succeed.
The Big Sick is where the heartfelt meets laugh out loud comedy. You become invested in the story because you care about the characters, and that makes the laughs bigger and the poignant moments all the more touching. Everybody here is likable and easy to connect with. If you didn’t already know how affable Nanjiani is, consider The Big Sick to be your springboard. This is about as much of one’s self that you can possibly inject into a project, and it ends up feeling as authentic and personal as can be. I like Zoe Kazan a whole lot; even though she become comatose and is absent for a large part of her own story, she make a big impression at the beginning, making the most of her time on screen. What surprised me the most was how good the parents of both families are in this, especially Ray Romano. I just haven’t seen him give a performance like this before; I know he will always be best known for Everybody Loves Raymond and the Ice Age movies, so it can be easy to forget that he is actually a talented actor.
It’s unexpected and completely welcome.
What won me over most about this movie is that it is a romantic comedy that feels real. These aren’t cutesy problems that are fabricated for the big screen, designed to sweep you off your feet when the script deems it time to, these are real issues that don’t have simple solutions and aren’t resolved with a quick conversation. You can’t expect somebody to break an entire lifetime of culture and become accepting just because it is time for somebody to have an epiphany, life doesn’t work like that. Judd Apatow productions have the tendency to run about 25 minutes too long, and this is the first movie since The 40-Year-Old Virgin not to make me feel that way. There isn’t exactly a twist at the end of this, but it does reveal something that I wasn’t aware of going in, and it makes this story hold even more weight. I think this is pretty fantastic, and I highly recommend it for an extremely worthwhile date movie.
The Big Sick (2017) ****1/2
– Critic for Hire