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Movie Reviews & Ratings
The Big Sick  : Crossover Fun
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Friday, June 30, 2017
Michael Showalter
Fatima, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kuhoo Verma, Mitra Jouhari, Celeste Arias, Shana Solomo

Although hero Kumail Nanjiani is a Pakistani, there’s plenty that Indians too will connect with. Kumi is single, does stand-up comedy not-too-successfully and ducks his mother’s attempts at arranging a match for him. “That’s all we ask for. That you marry a good Pakistani girl,” says she. Kumi has a boxful of pictures of prospective brides but he’s seriously dating white American Emily.


Cultural conflicts arise mainly in the way they handle their relationship. Emily’s parents know all about Kumail while he’s still looking at the Pakistani girls being paraded for him by his parents and he hasn’t told them a thing about the white girl in his life.


Largely borrowing from their own real story, screenplay writers Kumail and Emily retain their names for the lead pair. Chuckles come from unabashed vignettes of Pakistani ethnicity. Kumail joins the dinner table over weekends with his family and pretends to meekly acquiesce when his mother asks him to go up and pray. “We pray a bit, actually five times a day,” he scripts into his comic act. 


Kumail may easily flit between his traditional Pakistani family and his American way of life but Emily explodes when she discovers how he’s been tweaking the truth. “You’re a therapist, you’re supposed to handle this better,” is the best repartee he can come up with when she vents and breaks up.


Emily falling ill and in a medically-induced coma,brings her parents into Kumail’s life. And director Michael Showalter builds bonds between the parents and the guy who broke their daughter’s heart. It changes Kumail who doesn’t want his folks to disown him and seeks to retain both, family and Emily. As he asks his mother, “Why come to America but live like we’re in Pakistan?” Why, indeed. It’s a situation many Indian origin kids would also identify with.   


Kumail and Zoe Kazan bring alive Kumail and Emily while for Indians, the presence of Anupam Kher as the Pakistani father is the cherry on top. He is at ease, as always, especially in the awkward mix of emotions when he turns up at his son’s doorstep.


With a neat blend of family ties and light comedy, there are tugs at the heart and plenty of moments that bring on the laughs.    


For a comfortable, relatable family story, The Big Sick gets a 3* rating. 


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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