The Big Sick
Romance, Comedy
IMDB rating:
Michael Showalter
Holly Hunter as Beth
Aidy Bryant as Mary
Vella Lovell as Khadija
Kumail Nanjiani as Kumail
Zenobia Shroff as Sharmeen
Jeremy Shamos as Bob Dalavan
Myra Lucretia Taylor as Nurse Judy
David Alan Grier as Andy Dodd
Ray Romano as Terry
Adeel Akhtar as Naveed
Zoe Kazan as Emily
Anupam Kher as Azmat
Storyline: 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.
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Another boring and predictable love story, this time with a Pakistani person in it.
To paraphrase the leading actress of the movie, "You know that yawning thing that happens when you watch a really boring film? That happened." A lot.

Like a sociopathic child dragging it's torn and half eaten teddy, I too was dragged along to see this movie by my significant other, whose depiction of the film was roughly of "a struggle for acceptance by an interracial couple in the west." Unfortunately, this film was only barely that.

Yes, he is Pakistani. Yes, he is in a not-so-hot interracial relationship. Yes, he seems to be rebelling against the stereotypical beard wearing, head bobbing, rice eating, Urdu speaking family he appears to be a member of, but the depiction seem to stop there.

Firstly, the acting, like watching Bruce Forsyth perv on the dancing on ice girls, was just barely tolerable through all the cringe worthiness and specifically the casting of Zoe Kazan was just plain wrong. I really didn't enjoy watching her; she can barely deliver dialogue, she looked awkward and gaunt the whole time (even when she was well) and there was no chemistry on screen with either Kumail or her on-screen parents. The argumentative scenes were poorly dialogued and seemed too hyperbolic and forced and just showed what an awful actor she is.

Coming onto the story itself, it's basically a story of a Pakistani stand-up comedian whose white girlfriend falls sick, gets better and then everyone is happy - with very little of interest in between. The pathetic little in-depth exploration of cultural differences and intra-customary variations were only ever skid marks on the undies of revelation and portrayed as quippy stereotypes and cheap gags. For example *Pakistani accent* "why don't you grow a beard like your brother" and "oh, Mrs 'whoever' was just driving by and dropped in" (don't forget to roll the R's). Additionally, every brown character in the movie seemed to have a Pakistani accent despite them telling us some were USA born and bred - again this points to the forced and farcical nature of the approach to humour in the movie.

Furthermore, if you've read any of my previous reviews, you'll know I detest medical inconsistencies in movies. I'm sorry but one minute Emily has a chest infection (for which she would have received some anti-inflammatories at some point - I'll come onto why this is important in a minute) and the next minute she's so unwell she's materialised five jargon jabbering Jar Jar Binks style doctors and needs urgent surgery (for god knows what - she had no indication a second ago of empyema/pleural effusion etc and I'm sorry but I've not really heard of just cutting an infection out of someone's lung, even TB isn't managed like that these days!) Then hey presto, Dr House obviously came along and matched the swollen ankle tid-bit from earlier with her apparent "inconclusive biopsy" (again - Huh?) and came up with Adult Onset Still's Disease. Her condition then rapidly improved the minute they gave her some anti-inflammatories - which dare I say she would have got in the ER the minute she walked through the door for her apparent chest infection, so, none of this medical mumbo-jumbo would have happened anyway! Really, if they wanted me to care about her medical condition they should have focused and put some effort into getting the details accurate, because apparently it may actually have happened exactly like that, if this movie really was based on a true story.

However, regardless if the medicine was accurate or depicted well, like an impending meteor the rubbish that ensued whilst Emily was unconscious had already sealed this movie's fate. An obligatory 9-11 related scene could never go amiss here, the bombing out on stage (excuse the pun), the pointless screaming at a PA system over 4 slices of cheese and the overall boring conversations just left me feeling sleepy. I have no idea why the story then suddenly waffled on about Emily's parent's marital issues - what on earth did that have to do with the price of chips?

Overall, this movie picked a great topic to explore but failed miserably at exploring it. The focus here should have been on delving into Pakistani culture, how the second generation are adapting it into Western Culture and how both generations are dealing with this paradigm shift. This should have been a film about Kumail's and Emily's parents bonding and accepting each other's cultures through the eyes of their children, especially as Emily battles for her life. This could have been a movie about the younger American-Indian/Pakistani/whatever generation teaching the older generations of their identity struggle, how they strive to fit into both worlds and how the older generation need to change to be more accepting of this brave new world. Yet, instead this was a film about cheesy quips, borderline racist stereotypes and just the usual white people issues and pointless yelling, boiling down to just being another boring chick-flick type romance movie with some basic comedic moments.

Watch Bend It Like Beckham, East is East, Marigold Hotel or even Bride and Prejudice *sigh* if you expect more exploration of cultural differences. This is barely watchable. 6/10 as the funny bits are funny.
Master of None knockoff?
Read Popping' Movies reviews at

In the film, the story and characters play an intricate similarity to Aziz Ansari's Master of None. This occurs for the first half of the film, but can Kumail help that this is what happened in his real life? Probably not. There is a lot of back and forth about Pakistani and Caucasian cultural differences, which eventually leads to their break up. But once Emily lands in the hospital, the film takes a shift away from the popular Netflix show and into its own entity....

See the rest of the film review at 2017.html
Kumail's Culture Clash
Pretty much everyone knows the score with romantic comedies. A guy and a girl meet, hating each other at first, but through 90 minutes of "kooky" bonding, the quirky odd couple fall in love, but fall out in time for the cheesy climax often involving the girl leaving on a plane, only for the guy to chase it down, get on last minute to confess his love for her and live happily ever after… The genre comes with certain expectations, for most part, they aren't optimistic. Well take all your expectations and leave them at the door when you see the romantic comedy, The Big Sick. This film breathes new life into the rom-com genre, and is simply a beautiful and genuinely funny movie. The Big Sick tells the story of Kumail, played by Kumail Nanjiani, an uber driver from an Islamic Pakistani family who also does comedy on the side. Despite his parents traditional beliefs, Kumail meets Emily, a white American girl played by Zoe Kazan, and the two start seeing each other. What follows is a hilarious, but also heartfelt story about love, family, the fear of disappointing your family and the clash between liberal/ more relaxed belief and strict tradition.

The Big Sick is fantastically well acted by the films four central actors. Holly Hunter's presence is felt immediately when we first meet her character, and she excellently plays the strong but also compassionate mother of Emily that is Beth. Ray Romano makes a brilliant comeback as Terry, Emily's father, Romano is obviously no stranger to playing the father role, being one a father of four himself. Romano's experience shows in this film, he is funny, timid and believable in this film and it's great to see him not play a Mammoth in a movie for once. Zoe Kazan is also great as Emily, playing her with a great level of emotion and, similar to Holly Hunter, having a real presence, even if she isn't featured all that much in the actual film.

However, the real star of this film is Kumail Nanjiani. This is Kumail's movie, he absolutely shines in the films lead role and is simply a revelation. His comedic timing and line delivery is absolutely on point and his use of sarcasm is exquisite, but not only that, Kumail nails the more serious and emotional scenes, even shedding a few tears, which I honestly did not see coming. Kumail Nanjiani doesn't just shine as a comedic actor, but as a well rounded actor and I really hope this film does wonders for him.

But of course comedy is not just about the delivery, it's also largely about the material and The Big Sick's material and overall script are simply marvellous. Not only shining as an actor, Kumail Nanjiani shines as a writer, co-writing this laugh out loud comedy with his wife Emily V Gordon. The couple have excellently crafted a subversive romantic comedy that feels so genuine and so real, that you almost don't want it to end, I know I didn't. What makes this film truly stand out from other rom-coms is how just genuine the film feels and how clearly you can feel the writer's emotions. It's obvious that this is more than just a film and was written from the heart. Not only that, it's laugh out loud funny, which to get me to laugh aloud is like getting blood out of a stone, and deals with its very relevant themes of cultural tradition and family disappointment daringly yet also respectably.

Yes this film is hilarious and emotional, but what really makes the film stand out is how it handles its sensitive subjects. Kumail comes from a strict, traditionalist, Pakistani Muslim family living in America, so he is going to struggle with the type of life he wants to live and the one his family want him to live, while also experiencing his fair share of 9/11 and Isis comments and overall bigotry. How The Big Sick handles these sensitive matters is outstanding, it doesn't cower from both debating issues and making some very controversial jokes surrounding them. The film doesn't tiptoe around these things, but also doesn't make the film all about them either, being loud and proud without being pretentious. We simply need more films like this.

Overall, The Big Sick is a beautifully well written and excellently acted film, that confidently addresses its sensitive areas without being cocky and feels extremely genuine on both a comedic and emotional front. I went in knowing little about the film and that is honestly the way to go, as the films end/ start of credits added a nice surprise that just added a whole new layer to the film. I actually laughed aloud which is extremely rare for me and my smile did not leave my face until long after the film had finished. I really hope this launches Kumail Nanjiani and co-writer Emily V Gordon into all new levels of acclaim and success. Bravo and Brava.
Nice movie but far from a greatness of comedy
A comedy with the 'Master of none' style comedy of Anzin Ansari but without the grace and emotion from the comedian with Indian heritage.

A very corny and kind roles from the protagonist Jumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan but the true star (in this case, like secondary) of the movie is Ray Romano from 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. I haven't see him a very good role since that show.

In fact, I never saw him in any show since that so see him here is a great plus for the movie.
Wonderful film with great messages about a variety of essential subjects.
The Big Sick is a semi-autobiographical comedy that is written by, produced by, and stars Kumail Nanjiani as himself. Nanjiani is a struggling comedian in the film, who meets a girl (Zoe Kazan) at the beginning of the film that he dates without the consent of his parents. A couple of months into their relationship, she falls into a medically-induced coma, and he is forced to bond with her parents while she is out.

The Big Sick is an incredibly heartwarming and hilarious movie, with great performances all around. Few movies can balance drama and comedy with ease, and this is definitely a prime example of just that. It manages to switch between laugh-out-loud comedy and tear jerking emotion sometimes even within the same scene.

If you are not a fan of Kumail Nanjiani after watching this film, then there is something wrong with you. Along with exhibiting his comedic chops, he delivers a very emotional performance that can be rivaled with some of the best. Both Ray Romano and Holly Hunter are splendid as the girlfriend, Emily's, parents. Special shoutout to Bo Burnham for stealing literally every scene he's in.

There aren't too many flaws I have with this movie, but if I had to say one, it's that there is a conflict that seems very manufactured. The ending was also a bit cheesy, but it was a good cheesy so I didn't mind.

Easily the best part of The Big Sick is the massages it sends about the various subjects it tackles. It has a message about the inefficiency of hospitals and doctors that is true on so many levels. There is also the message about racism from white people towards Muslims and a disapproval of interracial relationships. This film also covers the practice of arranged marriage and the Muslim religion. All of these subjects I just mentioned are all excellently portrayed, which makes this movie even more special.

Overall, The Big Sick is a wonderful movie that is definitely worth checking out and should be seen by more people. This is an essential viewing if you are looking for the best films of 2017 so far.

I give The Big Sick an A-.
Fixed up
Question: How many British or American stand up comedians with a heritage from the Indian subcontinent has had an arranged marriage? The answer is probably close to zero. If you are going to face a tough audience every night then standing up to your parents is not going to be that difficult. After all Shazia Mirza a British female Muslim comedienne is still unmarried.

Therefore The Big Sick feels a little hollow. It is a fictionalised story of the romance between Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American, who want to be a stand up comedian.

He meets a heckler Emily (Zoe Kazan) one night when he is doing his routine and they fall in love. However Kumail's parents try to having fixed up with a woman of Pakistani origin who might suddenly drop in for dinner and who have been briefed to watch The X Files, Kumail's favourite television show.

Things get complicated when Emily falls ill and is placed in a medically induced coma and he then meets her parents who initially rebuff him because they know that he and Emily had recently split up. Kumail needs to prove to Emily, her parents and to himself that he needs to make his own life choices.

Maybe the subject matter is not new to a British audience so there is very little novelty for me in the central story. Although to an American audience I guess a sensitive portrayal of an American- Pakistani/Indian family tends to be rarer.
The best Judd-Apatow-produced rom-com ever.
Not every indie comedy can buffet jokes about The X-Files and ISIS in practically the same breath, but director Michael Showalter does it with understated ease in The Big Sick. Be prepared to chuckle a bit over the pop-cult references and weep a bit over the heroine's hospitalization. Also be prepared to laugh about arranged marriages, Pakistani style, and a meet-cute that doesn't always bring a smile.

The anchor of this layered comedy is Kumail Nanjiani, not only a subtly smooth stand-up comedian but also a handsome leading man, whose low-key approach to ambition and love puts him in the pantheon of heroes who are believable, self-effacing, and charming. The story is built around his courtship of Emily (Zoe Kazan) based on his wife, Emily V, Gordon, who is co-writer of this warm, sentimental and ultimately realistic screenplay.

Perhaps that realism is just what so endeared me to this dramedy because it fairly depicts the humor of competing cultures and the strains of everyday life in stand-up comedy Chicago and the world. Yet, it is lighthearted rather than grim, with comic toss-off lines that beg for a return to the film to enjoy the ones you may have missed.

You may also return to see the star turns of Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily's parents, Beth and Terry. The two pros can jump from flip to serious in a flash. They alone are a whole film experience wrapped in another film.

The Big Sick is more mood and tone than plot, a quiet reflection of the complicated lives that face more than decisions about sleeping around or telling your family all about your life. Although you may have experienced the cute lover suddenly rushed to hospital in countless other rom-coms, producer Judd Apatow has made sure you will laugh as you enjoy his iconic comedies, now in a higher form than ever, and wax philosophical at the slings and arrows of love in different cultures.
I love it in all my pain of knowing this story in my real life and my brother dying not waking up like she did. But still even with crying most of the movie i have to say i have never seen more accurate representation of how people are in this kind of situation. It was so real and with the ending i crave in my life... With my brother waking up.

The movie was interesting it had a romance that one could believe with ethnic problems and it was able to be funny even with a horrible thing happening with coma. The diversity between main characters families did not look forced or excessive but just right. I have an Indian friend he doesn't even look at white girls because he honors the arranged marriage(and is scared of loosing his family) but response the main character had was perfect. You can not just loose family, family stays and love between family can not disappear.. so one must try for love :). I mean it really is all drama, romance and comedy and it makes you feel strongly. A good unexpected story.
caring love
The Big Sick directed by Michael Showalter is about we the people. Are we supposed to be nice to someone because they are someone or because they are sick with a common ailment ...small sick or sick because they are in a medically induced coma or stuck in cultural differences... big sick? Kumail , a stand up comedian, first generation PakistaniAmerican has a very pleasant demeanor and attracts attention of Emily (Zoë Kazan)during one of his shows. Kumail's family wants him to get married to a girl with similar religious and cultural background. Kumail keeps his relationships to himself. But after he and Emily split, Emily is now big sick. The awkwardness of being with Emily's parents is very nicely handled. Ray Romano is very convincing as a caring father and also as someone who needs to be nice to ex-boyfriend of his daughter who was not nice to her and now has his own interests. Kumail is very sensitive to Emily's mom and her personality. I am surprised Judd Apatow opted to produce movie and not direct it himself. Script is simple and natural. I enjoyed the movie and Kumail Nanjiani did very well.
Fairly good but not great
All the actors in The Big Sick are accomplished and fit their roles well. Kumail Nanjiani is sweet and relaxed as Kumail, the immigrant caught between his American and Pakistani lives. As his white girlfriend Emily, Zoe Kazan is great - genuinely intelligent and sparky. Holly Hunter steals all her scenes as Zoe's firecracker mother, who comes to stay while Emily is in hospital in a coma. Ray Romano as Zoe's father is interesting and thoughtful. Some big issues are explored, such as what obligations do we have to our parents, and should parents leave behind traditions like arranged marriage when they move to the US? It's sobering to think there are families who shun sons and daughters for marrying or dating outside their race. Or that some children feel they must have an arranged marriage - and must even reject their true love - or else their family will disown them. To Western audiences, it seems distasteful, but the film acknowledges that it's a complex and long held practice that many immigrant families believe is the best way to find their children a partner.

The trouble with the movie is that much of it feels like a sitcom. The editing is far too rapid. It hurt my eyes. Not much happens in the film. It's not at all a demanding movie. It's not that funny and it doesn't take any risks. Which makes it a pretty standard romantic comedy, but not an exceptional one..
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