Review - 'The Big Sick'
The Big Sick is a fresh spin on a familiar story. If you've seen any of Judd Apatow's films (he didn't direct this one but his production company is involved) you'll already have a strong idea of what you're getting into. While the movie takes strong cues from Knocked Up and Funny People, it also has a lot of insightful, heartfelt and hilarious things to say about interracial relationships and relationships in general.
We're introduced to Kumail Nanjiani (Kumail Nanjiani) who obviously is playing himself here, as this is a mostly true story. Kumail is one of the sons in an immigrant family that migrated from Pakistan ten years prior. While his parents are very traditional, they let Kumail do what he wants for the most part, provided he abides by their one rule: marry a Pakistani woman. When Kumail inevitably falls for Emily (Zoe Kazan), a young, white girl, things get complicated. Kumail is force to deal with all of the different complications that come with this relationship when Emily is afflicted with a potentially deadly illness and he realizes that he loves her.
There really wasn't a moment that I wasn't on-board with this film, but it never really surprised me in any way, even though it introduced unconventional scenarios into the mix. The Big Sick is at its absolute strongest when it tackles the intricacies of interracial relationships head-on, which is also, not coincidentally, when the humor is firing on all cylinders. The movie begins to sag in its middle act when Emily is taken out of the equation for a period of time. This is also when the film starts to feel long-in-the-tooth. The Big Sick is not a short movie at two-hours-and-five minutes and it doesn't help that it really takes its time to get to the end. The plot meanders along, especially in the middle, and though it never loses its heart, it could have trimmed a bit of its run time and would have been all-the-better for it.
Despite a lack of momentum at times, The Big Sick is still a satisfying journey to take part in. I really admired how many situations director Michael Showalter inserts Kumail into. Showalter has Kumail's type of humor dialed in perfectly and the actor's delivery and reactions to everything that is happening to and around him is pitch-perfect. Zoe Kazan also turns in a memorable performance as Emily, though I could have used more time devoted to their budding relationship before she is abruptly taken out of the picture. I'm not saying that I wanted the film to be even longer, but I wish some of the middle portions of the movie were cut in favor of some more scenes spent with Kumail and Emily. This would have enhanced their relationship and made me care more about Kumail and Emily's plight.
Holly Hunter and Ray Romano play Emily's parents, and they both do excellent work here. Holly Hunter plays the head-strong and fiery mother with great conviction while Ray Romano plays against your typical father type, as a bit of a push-over that lacks confidence. I loved the dynamic between these two characters and they really help the film from sinking too far in its second act. The rest of the cast, particularly everyone who plays Kumail's family is great, with the exception of Kumail's stand-up friends, who are their to just be the comedic relief and don't really bring much to the table at all.
I feel like The Big Sick would have been a much bigger revelation had it not been undercut by the excellent Master of None, which came out just over a year ago. There are some very similar themes in this film that Master of None gets a lot more time to play around with. I couldn't help but think that I was watching a slightly lesser version of that show during my time with The Big Sick. Still, I think this film is worth a look if you want a more condensed version of that story, and though it is very similar, there are still things to experience here that Master of None doesn't touch upon.
All things said, The Big Sick is a good film with a memorable cast and is oftentimes funny and engaging enough to stay afloat despite its run-time and predictable story. If you're looking for a solid dramedy that makes you think and feel, The Big Sick is worth a shot.