The Big Sick

Comedy

The most talked-about comedy in years Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

This dynamite, intimate romantic comedy sees Judd Apatow’s winning formula of timid man-geeks, far-more-mature partners and their huggably awkward parents get a welcome infusion of cross-cultural tension – along with some scary medical realities.

Apatow is only the producer of The Big Sick; the real creative is actor-writer Kumail Nanjiani, better known as the peevish computer coder in Silicon Valley. Developing an autobiographical script with his co-writer wife, the TV producer and podcaster Emily V Gordon, Nanjiani shapes the story of a Chicago stand-up comic’s wobbly rise, a journey that’s altered by love, illness and some much-needed late-on backbone.

One night, Kumail’s stand-up routine is interrupted by a smiling new fan, Emily (Zoe Kazan, owning her scenes), and a banter-crammed relationship follows. But Kumail can’t tell his fiercely attentive parents about the white girl he’s seeing. Instead, he stashes their photos of arranged-marriage candidates in a cigar box and rides out a courtship he secretly thinks is doomed to fail.

The Big Sick already scores points on familiar rom-com territory, so when it suddenly morphs into a completely different film – a bracingly sophisticated one – you’ll want to cry with happiness. Only weeks after their relationship hits the skids, Emily falls ill and Kumail is called to the hospital to authorise a medically induced coma. Now come Emily’s scowling parents, Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, the film’s secret weapons, and tensions evolve.

The film is saying something both obvious and wise about love and relationships, and ends up so much more than a Judd Apatow film because of it. Frankly, it’s wonderful.

The bottom line
The most talked-about comedy in years.

By Joshua Rothkopp
Time Out Doha,

The Big Sick

  • Duration: 120
  • Released: Thu, 03 Aug
  • Language: English
  • Director: Michael Showalter
  • Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter

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