Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon have a better reason for including unconsciousness in the film they've written. The Big Sick is based on the story of how, just after they'd met and fallen for each other, Gordon fell ill with a lung infection and had to be placed in a medically induced coma. Nanjiani (who plays himself) suddenly found himself signing hospital forms, necessarily claiming to be her husband, and meeting Gordon's parents during the most fraught period of their lives.
Still, it's apparent where the script has invented conflict. That Nanjiani falls for Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan) while being continuously set up with Muslim women by his matchmaking mother is believable; but it's a little convenient and clichéd that he and Gordon break up just prior to her coma. If the merit of originality is sincerity rather than novelty, then The Big Sick proves it: the least affecting parts are the ones that seem most made up. Fortunately, they are kept to a minimum.
What this amounts to is a sophisticated revamping of the romcom form rather than anything revolutionary. That's a good thing – the genre will only survive if its quips are current and its politics up-to-date (Kazan's Gordon gets a few good jibes in about Nanjiani's mansplaining). And if the results resemble mainstream arena-filling stand-up more than an alternative set in a basement, then the mainstream is all the better for it. The Big Sick can join Man Up and In a World... as modern example of superior romantic comedy.
Click here to read our interview with The Big Sick actor Adeel Akhtar as the DVD launches on 20th November.
|What||The Big Sick film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
28 Jul 17 – 18 Oct 18, Times Vary
|Price||£Determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more information|