I am a serious man. I don’t appreciate people talking to me while I’m playing minesweeper, nor do I like it when people brag about their Hello Kitty bags and purses. I’ll also be the first one to tell anyone that I’m a sucker for a good romantic-comedy. Problem is, most rom-com’s are shit. Like over 95% of them. Which is what makes ‘The Big Sick‘ so surprisingly refreshing. It’s funny, it’s sweet and it has oodles of charm and heart. And it has Zoe Kazan.
# What’s it all about?
The beauty of The Big Sick lies in its simplicity. Its premise isn’t exactly unheard of. Two people from different cultural backgrounds falling in love, only to be pulled apart by their differences and then being brought together towards the end. The only difference being, the girl falls into a coma half an hour into the movie.
But hey, that’s just nitpicking. I mean, the story is based on actor Kumail Nanjiani and SNL-writer Emily Gordon’s real-life courtship. You can’t expect them to change it to make it more interesting or novel. I mean, maybe that’s the point. That life and love are as simple and unoriginal as it is.
# What I Liked
Ah, where do I begin.
Let’s begin with how funny it is. A good comedy or even a good joke is signified not only by how funny it is but, by how relatable it is. The writing and the humour in TBS does this in spades. Whether it is a box of mutton biryani cooked with extra potatoes or a South Asian man bragging about his baseball skills by playing cricket, The Big Sick has a rich vein of cultural humour that courses through it.
Better yet, TBS also effectively mines humour in the most unlikely of places, such as in an ER or in the middle of a discussion of how dangerous a coma is. This is a funny, funny film.
I cannot vouch for every humourous detail of this film and its writers’ courtship but, if it was half as funny then, they would be a hoot to meet in real life.
The seamlessness of its writing also adds to the strengths of the film. It moves effortlessly from an ethnic and cultural satire to a good, old-fashioned rom-com to an ER drama to a brief tearjerker. And it’s great. Even when it sometimes threatens to become sappy and saccharine with out of place exchanges about the nature of love and a side-story about infidelity, it doesn’t lose its footing.
Unlike a pure drama or a thriller, however, writing isn’t the biggest strength of a Rom-Com. It’s the acting. Specifically, the acting of its leads. Here too, The Big Sick delivers.
Kumail Nanjiani, the third funniest man on HBO’s absolutely brilliant TV comedy Silicon Valley shines, getting to flex more of his acting muscles than he is allowed to do on the show.
So do the always wonderful Ray Romano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s parents who rush to the city when they hear of her coma.
The star, however, is Zoe Kazan. Unlike what the previews would suggest, she doesn’t get a lot of screen time. Most of the time she gets is while she’s on a hospital bed, in a coma. When she’s not, however, she steals the film. It’s honestly hard not to fall in love with her, what with her wide, bright eyes and absolutely stunning smile. She scores in her acting scenes as well but seriously, I wouldn’t mind if she had smiled through the entire film without saying a word. Also, watch Ruby Sparks if you haven’t.
# What Doesn’t Work
Not much comes to mind really. Maybe, that’s because I have only watched it once. And, I enjoyed it. Anyways, I need some words in this column so, *drumroll nitpicking*
Romano and Hunter are great as Emily’s parents but, their side story of marital discord and tension sometimes threatens to overwhelm the middle portions of the film, away from the sweet Rom-Com between Kumail and Emily. Also, I found them a little too dysfunctional to find them plausible or take them seriously. Great characters, yes. Believable? Not really.
Finally, it is a tad long and I’ll be honest about it but, Kumail’s stand-ups weren’t particularly standout funny.
See. Told you I’d be nitpicking.
The Big Sick isn’t perfect by any means.
And yet, it is possibly a perfect movie to watch cozied up on a couch on a cool night. It’s sweet, it’s charming and it’s delightfully funny and heartfelt, elevated by sharp performances by its leads. Do watch it. I did, and it was possibly the first time I found myself laughing at a 9/11 joke. Yes, there are a couple of 9/11 jokes.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Image Credits: Google Images
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