The Big Sick

I recently read Judd Apatow's book, "Sick in the Head." It is a paean to the world of standup comedy and to the men and women who labor in it. His affection for these unique comics was never so apparent as in in this recent production. Of course, it's a bit off beat: a romantic comedy that centers around a young woman in a coma. Don't worry. She lives. That is not a spoiler, you learn it in the trailer.

Director Michel Showalter ("Hello, My Name is Doris") working from a script by Emily V. Gordon (Lots of TV) and stand-up comic Kumail Nanjiani ("Silicon Valley") brings us a romance about the relationship between Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (yes, they are not only writers, they are a real couple) set against twin backdrops of standup and family. Apatow is the producer.

Some of Showalter's cast;
  • Kumail Nanjiani ("Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates") plays himself, a young man caught between cultures: His American culture which brings him the woman he loves, and the Pakistani culture in which his doting parents stubbornly try to arrange marriage to some young, and to him, less-than-appealing Pakistani woman. They do NOT understand standup comedy, either!
  • Zoe Kazan ("Ruby Sparks") plays Emily, the American woman who has won his heart. Their chatter is witty and reflects their growing affection.
  • Holly Hunter ("Batman v. Superman") is Emily's mother Beth, she has some opinions concerning this man her daughter has told her about. This is a terrific showcase for Hunter! She and Romano have a great scene together that was a joy to watch. Sort of a master class in comic acting.
  • Ray Romano ("Men of a Certain Age") is her husband Terry; his first awkward attempt at conversation with Kumail is "9/11." Naturally, as a standup comic, Kumail's immediate response is completely wrong (but made me laugh out loud).
  • Anupam Kher ("Silver Linings Playbook") Azmat and his wife have carefully selected bridal candidates for their son. If only Kumail wasn't so Americanized! (Kher gets to sing!)
  • Zenobia Shroff ("When Harry Tries to Marry") Sharmeen is positive that she and Azmat are doing the right thing. At least it has worked for the last 1,400 years.
  • Velia Lovell ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend") has the unhappy task of playing Khadija, a young Pakistani woman who is just trying to do what's right.
  • Linda Emond (Lots of TV) It was good to see her playing Dr. Cunningham. I first remember her stage work in Seattle decades ago when she attended U of W!
As you might expect in a modern R-rated film, we encounter anatomical humor, a number of F-bombs and some inappropriate behavior, but at its core beats the heart of a good man who loves his family, his sweetheart, and standup comedy.
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As promised, here is the trailer:
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