Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick is funny, sad, and another addition to the long line of things Judd Apatow has produced. The film is also based on the true story of how star Kumail Nanjiani (played by himself) and Emily V. Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan) met in real life. (It was also written by the two). That information would not matter if the story was not very good, but luckily, this movie is in fact, very good.
What I found interesting with The Big Sick. was the film’s structure. You would think that it would be more of a story about the two lovers overcoming cultural differences as Kumail is Pakinstani while Emily is American. Which is the direction that it takes itself in the first half, which then is curtailed by the very much clichéd break-up scene used in countless romantic-comedies. But they take this tired cliché and make it so the two characters don’t immediately get back together, and almost not at all. Then, Emily becomes sick and Kumail has to go to the hospital to sign off on a procedure so they can operate on her. He then has to call her parents and the film then, focus on Kumail’s relationship with Emily’s Parents (played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter) and how the three connect over Emily’s sickness. It is nice to see a love story told in such an unconventional way.
Cultural differences also take center-stage in the film. As Kumail struggles between the love of his family and his love for Emily to not disappoint either one of them. As his parents have expectations that do not involve him dating a white girl or dating at all. Kumail’s parents still wish to live like they are still in Pakistan but Kumail doesn’t want that for himself. He also does not want to become a lawyer or doctor but a comedian to his parents disappointment. Kumail also has awkward discussions with Emily’s parents about his “opinion on 9/11” and a stereotypical-looking frat boy heckles him from during his stand-up routine with “Go back to ISIS”. These lead to some hilarious and as well as sad moments in the film.
Who doesn’t like a good love story? The Big Sick is just that, it is an Apatow dramedy with the wit of Michael Showalter to guide it so it doesn’t get too depressing for it’s own good. And it is nice to see a well deserved happy ending to Emily and Kumail’s story.