Blu-ray: The Big Sick

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Michael Showalter | CAST: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 19, 2017 | PRICE: DVD $17.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $17.99
BONUSES: cast and filmmakers commentary, deleted scenes, featuettes, more
SPECS: R | 120 min. | Romantic comedy | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | Spanish and English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

There’s a lot to like about The Big Sick—a boy-meets-girl/boy-loses-girl/boy-wins-girl-back rom-com with a twist—and that might be part of its problem.  At times, it feels as if there’s a little too much in there.  Kumail Nanjiani (HBO’s Silicon Valley, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) has teamed up with his real-life wife, Emily V. Gordon—portrayed here with “adorkable” verve by Zoe Kazan (What If, Ruby Sparks)—to tell the story of their courtship and marriage.  Kumail is an aspiring stand-up comic and the child of Pakistani immigrants who desperately want to see him married off to a nice Pakistani girl.  Kazan’s Emily is most definitely not that.  But the real twist comes mid-movie when, after a break-up brought on by their seemingly irreconcilable cultural differences, Emily is felled by a mysterious infection and placed in a medically induced coma.  Only while bonding with her distraught parents—Holly Hunter (The Piano) and Ray Romano (TV’s Everybody Loves Raymond)—and on the brink of losing her for good does Kumail realize that Emily is, in fact, the girl of his dreams.  A predictable recovery and reconciliation eventually ensue.

The characters are all immensely engaging, and the second-act coma is enough of a new twist to bring significant charm to what might otherwise have felt like a tired retread of numerous things you’ve already seen.  The film’s biggest weakness, however, lies in its sprawling first and third acts.  Given how by-the-numbers the couple’s initial courtship and eventual reunion ultimately are, there’s simply no reason for them to go on for so, so long.  (The more is more ethos of producer Judd Apatow seems to be at work here.)  One imagines that Nanjani and Gordon fell into the trap common to autobiographers—a reluctance to deviate from (or cut altogether) any of their real-life story’s particulars, even at the expense of narrative tautness.  The result is a film that, while still enjoyable, feels longer than it actually is (and, at over two hours, it ain’t short) and is something less than the sum of its parts.

Still, it’s good to see Nanijani assume a leading-man role, it’s always a pleasure to spend time with Kazan, Hunter, et al, and director Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name is Doris) capably mounts his scenes, most successfully during the comedy club sequences.  The Big Sick is absolutely a good film and indicates that—with perhaps a tad more disciplined screenplay—Nanijani and Gordon may yet produce something of greatness.

Buy or Rent The Big Sick

About Gwen

Gwen Cooper is a movie and TV lover and the author of Homer's Odyssey (no, not the one you're thinking of).