‘The Big Sick’ – written by (and based on) the husband-and-wife team of Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani – is not your usual romantic comedy, let alone a pretty special one. Sure, it’s sweet, emotional, very funny, and sentimental; its problem comes from the fact that the first 15-20 minutes of this semi-biopic feel like a condensed version of the romantic comedies that have come before it. Add in a sort-of ‘While You Were Sleeping’ story-line, social commentary on race and our health system, and the likes of Holly Hunter and Ray Romano trying to get back to the acting game, and you have ‘The Big Sick’!
‘The Big Sick’ is a lot of things: A rom-com, a medical drama, and a biopic all blended into a sweet, but not too saccharine smoothie. In reality, it is a story that Gordon and Nanjiani felt the need to tell to us as if we were their children, but with an R-rating (Add the profanity, save the sex.) to make it consumable to modern movie-going audiences (and because it is produced by ‘Knocked Up’s Judd Apatow, yet directed by Michael Showalter). It serves as a testament of their love and brings up the question “How far can one man go for love?” once again. Even though both husband and wife are telling the story, it still feels like it is being told through the eyes of Nanjiani, who literally plays himself, with Gordon being dramatized by indie rom-com veteran Zoe Kazan (‘Ruby Sparks’, ‘What If’) and last name changed to “Gardner”.
‘The Big Sick’ is more or less not just a love story centered around on how these two met and the trials of love; as a whole, this is mainly Nanjiani’s story about making it to the top as a semi-successful stand-up comic, his struggles with his overbearing, stuck-in-their-own-customs family (Anupam Kehr, Zenobia Shroff, and Adeel Akhtar), and getting to know Emily’s caring parents (Hunter and Romano), who are dealing with their own romantic problems.
‘The Big Sick’ may seem like your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy at first, but it is one of those movies that is worth a shot for either a date night, or if there is nothing else to see throughout the week. Guaranteed: It is a good time. Just don’t expect another ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, but instead, be prepared for the most realistic remake of ‘While You Were Sleeping’ ever put to film.