A new movie called THE BIG SICK is a romantic comedy even though the female lead is in a coma for a third of the film. But that doesn’t prevent it from being a crowd pleasing, highly entertaining film based on the real life story of the mixed race couple who wrote the script.
The history of the early relationship of struggling comedian Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily Gordon is sweet, funny, touching and above all true to life in ways most romantic comedies are not.
Kumail Nanjiani stars in his own story with the adorable Zoe Kazan as Emily. They first meet after his performance at a comedy club. He accuses her of heckling him while he was onstage.
Emily: I didn’t heckle you. I just “woo hoo’d” you. It’s supportive.
Kumail: OK. That’s a common misconception. Yelling anything at a comedian is considered heckling. Heckling doesn’t have to be negative.
Emily: So, if I yelled out like “You’re amazing in bed,” that’d be a heckle?
Kumail: Yeah; it would be an accurate heckle.
The two wind up at his place for what both believe will be just a one night stand. In fact, Emily is in a hurry to leave.
Emily: I’m just gonna call Uber.
(His phone rings.)
Kumail: Your driver will be ready as soon as he puts on his pants.
The two are soon spending a lot of time together until she discovers that his parents expect him to enter an arranged marriage with one of the women they choose for him.
Emily: Oh, my god. I’m so stupid. Can you imagine a world in which we end up together?
Kumail: I don’t know.
(She slams the door as she leaves his apartment.)
But shortly after she breaks up with Kumail, Emily gets an infection so severe that doctors put her into a medically induced coma, and Kumail is the one who has to call her parents, wonderfully played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.
Terry: Thank you Kumail. We’re gonna handle things from here.
Kumail: I think I’m just gonna wait anyway.
Beth: You guys broke up. I’m not sure why you’re here.
But gradually, Kumail and Emily’s parents get to know each other. And Kumail realizes he’s in love with Emily.
Kumail: I think I screwed up with your daughter.
Beth: Yeah, you did.
The human foibles of all the major characters in THE BIG SICK are on full display. And yet they are impossible to dislike. That’s part of what makes THE BIG SICK so satisfying.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org