The Big Sick

Dir: Michael Showalter. Writers: Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano

119 mins, USA, 2017

American/Pakistani stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani plays himself, and Zoe Kazan his girlfriend-soon-to-be-in-a-coma Emily Gordon, in this very funny but overlong romcom/ medical drama based on Nanjiani and Gordon’s true story, as scripted by themselves.

While the film sticks to being a romcom – forbidden love and lust across a racial and religious divide – it is very funny. The two leads are extremely droll, and laugh-out-loud one-liners come thick and fast. The family dinner scenes in Nanjiani’s parents’ home are scripted so cleverly that they make what could be corny subject matter – controlling Muslim mothers, arranged marriages – seem funny and fresh. But then …

Ismay: When Emily fell into a coma we were suddenly inside a completely different story, one about Nanjiani and her parents rather than about her and Nanjiani. It could have been two different films. I would have been happy sitting at home on the sofa and watching it, but it was far too long for the cinema.

Muffet: They harped on a bit too much about the arranged marriages. But I quite enjoyed it.

Perhaps Kumail Nanjiani as co-scriptwriter was a bit too indulgent towards his own character. But the ending was all one could hope for in a romcom, and we all three came out smiling.

 

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