It’s always nice when Ray Romano pops up in things; I feel this modern generation doesn’t appreciate him enough…
“The Big Sick” is the semi-true story of how actor Kumail Nanjiani met his wife (with whom he co-wrote the script). Zoe Kazan stars as his future bride-to-be Emily V. Gordon, as Holly Hunter and Ray Romano portray Emily’s parents. Michael Showalter directs.
This really is a lot like Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck.” A first-time screenwriter, getting their somewhat-based-on-a-true-story script produced by Judd Apatow and released in the middle of July. Nanjiani’s script, like Schumer’s, has a lot of the “Apatow quirks” about it (even though he only acted as a producer instead of directing) and doesn’t really add anything new to the rom-com formula, but some honest and warm performances from a talented cast elevate it above all that to end up in one of the better date movies in recent memory.
I’ve been a fan of Kumail Nanjiani ever since he starred on “Franklin and Bash,” and think he is very funny even in films that very much aren’t (like “Fist Fight”). He is basically playing himself here, both because he acts like he does in most every other role and because the character is literally based off him, but that’s fine. His dry, awkward responses and sarcastic undertones are perfectly timed and his repartee with Zoe Kazan, who is great in her own right, is winning (Kazan starred alongside Daniel Radcliffe in the rom-com “What If?” a few years back and I recommend you check that one out, random plug).
Ray Romano and Holly Hunter are sweet and genuine as the parents of Emily, with Hunter’s southern accent being comforting and Romano’s awkward timing matching up nicely with Nanjiani’s. Romano is given one scene that could’ve resulted in some over-the-top scene chewing but he handles it with surprising restraint and it results in a tender moment that some people may really be able to relate to.
Like the best rom-coms such as “Friends with Benefits,” “Hitch” and the aforementioned “What If?,” there really isn’t anything *wrong* with the film. There are moments of lag or repeated plot points here or there, and some side stories and characters that are more useless and annoying than they are necessary or funny. The emotional moments may also not pay off as well as the filmmakers may have liked, but that really would’ve just been icing on the cake.
There’s really not much more I can say about “The Big Sick.” It’s the definition of a perfect date night movie, with fun performances and infectious chemistry between the two leads. Despite a running time of two hours the film is pretty breezy and even if it is never side-splittingly funny you’ll never be bored, and in an age of overlong “Transformers” and painfully unamusing Adam Sandler joints, that’s enough for me.
Critics Rating: 7/10