The Big Sick, which is based on the real-story of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon (who also penned the script) is one of the better romantic comedies in a while and fits nicely near the top of the Apatowian canon. The film was directed by The State-er Michael Showalter; though, he may be the film’s weak point.
However, and this is a big however, the director’s first and most important job is getting good performances from his actors, and boy does Showalter get good performances out of his actors. Nanjiani is playing a version of himself and he has experiences to call back on, but he still does a great job,. Zoe Kazan is always bubbly, yet steady and focused. The actors who play Nanjiani’s parents and brother (Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, and Adeel Akhtar) are fantastic. But, it’s Emily’s parents stressed to the max at the prospect of their daughter’s illness, that are the standouts. Holly Hunter is perfect as the feisty North Carolinian mother and Ray Romano is absolutely outstanding in the dramatic role as the kind, caring, dorky, and human father.
Sure, there are a few incomplete takes, overdubs, and continuity issues, but it cannot detract from how original and powerful the story is. The interactions between Nanjiani and his comic friends, his family, and especially with Hunter and Romano are totally memorable. There are so few movies that have the genuine laughs (and there are mounds of laughs) and real emotion in equal measure. The Big Sick will be a film that is remembered from 2017 and may even garner some award buzz for the script and for Romano.