The 'doomed romance by way of illness’ sub-genre receives a welcome entry in this largely improvised comedy.
Starring Kumail Nanjiani, and based on his true-life experiences with writer Emily Gordon (whom he is now married to). The Big Sick sees Kumail, a version of his younger self – a part-time Uber driver and wannabe standup star, cracking gags from his perch somewhere along the spectrum of comedy geekiness. Emily (Zoe Kazan) starts off by heckling Kumail during his standup and winds up having a romance with him. Kazan combines her doe-eyed and rather cherubic beauty with a plausible mix of intelligence and vulnerability. The film takes a sharp turn when Emily succumbs to an unknown illness and spends the second act in a coma. Kumail then has the unenviable task of bonding with her oddball parents Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.
Audiences have grown (I hope) smarter to the ways of the traditional rom-com (overly twee scenarios, forced and unrealistic exchanges) so it's up to these more natural stories to fly the flag. Thank goodness then that this one is heartfelt and genuine. (Jack Whiting) Improvised and autobiographical, so beware.