Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family's expectations, and his true feelings.
Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.
Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), in the middle of becoming a budding stand-up comedian, meets Emily (Zoe Kazan). Meanwhile, a sudden illness sets in forcing Emily to be put into a medically-induced coma. Kumail must navigate being a comedian, dealing with tragic illness, and placating his family's desire to let them fix him up with a spouse, while contemplating and figuring out who he really is and what he truly believes Written by
Brett Lee Swerbilow (email@example.com)
The film was shown on the closing night of the 3rd Edition (2017) of "IndieBo" (Bogota's Independent Film Festival) as part of the "In Focus" section. See more »
Although he lives in Chicago, Kumail's car has a New York inspection sticker on the windshield. See more »
[Whilst using her phone to book an uber]
Listen, I had a really nice time, thank you very much. I'm just going to like, call an Uber, go home and I hope
[gets interrupted by Kumail's phone alert]
[showing Emily the Uber request]
Your driver will be ready as soon as he puts on his pants.
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In the beginning of the end credits, photos of shown of the real-life inspiration behind the Emily character, as well as the wedding between Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani and Nanjiani's real-life parents. See more »
Pakistani-born actor and stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani has made a film about his own experiences dating a non-Pakistani girl. His family members didn't accept the fact that he loved his girlfriend, and kept on setting up dates with Pakistani girls, as is the custom in that country.
Instead of a drama about the consequences of these culture clashes, Nanjiani made a lighthearted film, following the classic screenplay structure of the romantic comedy. Boy meets girl, falls in love, has to overcome all kinds of setbacks and problems, is rejected by the girl, but keeps on trying, and ultimately succeeds in winning her love. Everything is so predictable that the jokes must be really good to make up for the unimaginative screenplay.
Unfortunately, they're not. I counted one really good joke (about 9/11) and a handful in the category 'not bad'. But overall, this movie lacks the wit and humour that you'd expect from a film that was praised at Sundance. The jokes are flat and the running gags, like the endless parade of Pakistani marriage candidates, are boring.
So, the film is predictable and not very funny. That wouldn't have mattered if Nanjiani had turned his own experiences in a really heartfelt drama about how in some immigrant communities traditional parents try to arrange marriages for their unwilling offspring. And how this can lead to devastating consequences, like parents disowning their children. In 'The Big Sick', this fact is presented in the offhand manner which of course is typical for comedies.
The theme of arranged marriages in immigrant communities made me think of the excellent German/Turkish movie about this subject, 'When we leave'. That film was like a punch in the stomach. 'The Big Sick' is like listening to someone trying in vain to be funny.
There is only one thing I really liked in this film: Holly Hunter's part as the mother of Nanjiani's love interest. The way she completely played everyone else off the screen, for example with a wonderful and completely unexpected outburst of grief-induced anger, was absolutely great.
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