The Big Sick is a RomCom about a Pakistani-American comedian who struggles with his family's traditions while maintaining a rocky relationship with a woman in a coma. And it is based on a true story.
It's alright, I know you're afraid. The potential for clichés and preachy “America is a melting pot, you middle-American, Red State bigots!” As well as sappy, “I can’t lose her, Doc! Not like this!” moments is so high, you may have put off seeing this film to avoid the inevitable disappointment of seeing that kinds of color-by-the-numbers drama.
Thankfully, The Big Sick is low on both of the aforementioned red flags. The humor is conversational and realistic and clearly draws on the very genuine experience of Kumail and Emily Gordon (the titular lovebirds) to make for a touchingly funny and sweet story that feels warmer and more sincere than possibly any romantic comedy I’ve seen.
Additionally, the acting is surprisingly solid. The secondary characters manage to layer so many emotions that it blends with the plight of the two main characters with tremendous emotional gravity. On a somewhat unrelated note, Kumail has an adorable voice. I’m not sure why, I’ve never heard any other Pakistanis talk like him. He’s like a Sindh Homestar Runner.
That’s not to say there are no flaws to speak of. The few clichés that are present are telegraphed a mile away, but at the very least Pakistani tradition and American modernity are both almost equally scrutinized and downplayed by the interpersonal drama. Additionally, the pacing is plodding in areas where they could really use either a laugh or a gasp to break the tedium.
Still, for the very few flaws, this film has a lot of heart and a narrative that doesn’t feel watered down or exaggerated. And it was nice to see Ray Romano being a funny old man. If you want to watch a movie this weekend that doesn’t involve superpowers or CGI emoji…The Big Sick is the right pick. Rhyme unintentional.