Friday, June 23, 2017

Movie with Abe: The Big Sick

The Big Sick
Directed by Michael Showalter
Released June 23, 2017

Romantic comedies come in all different forms. Usually, things aren’t all that simple or they’re complicated by just one hurdle that just proves to be too big to get over. If that were readily apparent, there would be no reason to watch. Cultural clashes are a common obstacle that proves insurmountable to some, and what might begin as a joke doesn’t always end well if the parties involved can’t find a way around it. “The Big Sick” is a truly intelligent, warm, and winning example of exactly how to make a sweet, touching romantic comedy that excels on all fronts.

Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-born actor best known for his starring roles on “Silicon Valley” and “Franklin and Bash,” plays himself, a stand-up comedian who isn’t all that well-known but is trying to make it in the comedy scene. He meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) when the grad student pipes up during one of his sets and the two begin a relationship. When it becomes clear that seriously dating a white woman won’t fly with Kumail’s family, their romance hits the brakes, but everything is thrown back in the air when Emily is in the hospital and falls into a coma, leaving a confused Kumail to sit at her bedside, developing a relationship with her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) without her even knowing that her ex is with her almost every moment.

There isn’t another film much like this one, which has a remarkable honesty to it, portrayed so wonderfully in the simplicity of Kumail and Emily’s first meeting, where he informs her that even positive audience participation in a comic’s act is considered heckling. When things get serious, this film doesn’t lose any of its signature energy, and in fact becomes even more wonderful and sympathetic, with plenty of humor to be found even in moments that seem bleak.

For those who think Nanjiani belongs in the supporting cast, this film strongly suggests otherwise. In a story written by Nanjiani and his real-life wife, the Pakistani actor represents his heritage and the way it merges with American assimilation brilliantly, in a funny and loveable performance. Kazan is wondrous opposite him, and Hunter and Romano offer perfect support in their parts. This is easily one of the most uplifting and entertaining films of the year, easy for any audience to appreciate and enjoy.


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