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Review The Big Sick (2017): Enjoyable but not a laugh riot as advertised!

genre: comedy, drama, romance






The Big Sick is about the unusual love story of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gardner. Emily contracts a mysterious illness and is put in a medically induced coma so that they have more time to find out what she has and to cure her. Kumail then is forced to face and spent time with her parents he desperately tried to avoid when Emily and he were together. They had broken up because of Kumail's inability to make the necessary steps to make their relationship happen. Mostly out of fear to be cast out by his Pakistani (Muslim) family for choosing a white woman.

In several interviews Kumail (who is telling his own life story) claimed and guaranteed that the film was mainly a comedy and would provide a lot of laughs despite the relative heavy topics. And yes I can't deny that The Big Sick has some hilarious moments. But to say that it was a non stop laugh riot I will have to disagree. For the most part The Big Sick is a dramatic story made light with some comedic and romantic moments. It's not your typical feel good romcom. I knew how it would end and still the film made it seem like that outcome would not happen. It did of course but like literally in the last minute. Leaving very little space to show us the happy events after which I thought was the whole point in the first place.

There were two elements that made this film stand out from the typical fare. The cultural element where Kumail has to deal with his mother (played by Zenobia Shroff)  and her attempts to hook him up with some nice Pakistani brides. All of them were beautiful, intelligent and much more. But of course like with most arranged marriage set ups the one and only element that counts, "love", is not there. Since his heart already was taken. Some of these brides were really forthcoming and sweet. Like they made sure to have watched Kumail's favourite show The X-Files with very hilarious results. At the same time it pointed out some of the tragic elements concerning arranged marriages. Although very briefly. BTW Zenobia Shroff certainly is one of the highlights in the film since she is very funny in her demeanour and delivery of the lines. Then there is the relationship between Kumail and Emily's parents. The father is played by Ray Romano and the mother by Holly Hunter.  At first they are very sceptical of him but gradually they learn to like and appreciate him. Both Romano and Hunter were excellent. It is during this time that Kumail realizes how much he loves Emily and that she is the one. But does Emily still feel the same?

It is too bad that The Big Sick never truly gets deeper into the issues that are raised. For me those were the most interesting. Same goes for the film not spending time on showing us the aftermath and sharing the happy moments. It would have been fun to see how and when the Pakistani parents would get used to Kumail's defiance. Perhaps that is reserved for a future sequel maybe? 

So yes The Big Sick certainly is enjoyable only not nearly the laugh riot as advertised. 









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