The Big Sick (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Big Sick</strong> (2017)

(Google Play Streaming, November 2018) As a genre, the romantic comedy will never die as long as it adapts to the times, keeps finding intriguing hooks and invests in its characters. The Big Sick is a surprisingly engaging example of the form, showing us contemporary romance, likable characters and an irresistible hook: What if a recently-formed couple faced the impending death of one of them? That may not be a funny premise in itself, but don’t worry: everybody gets better in the end. Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan are well cast as the lead couple—Nanjiani even playing his own role given that the story is loosely adapted from his own life. The cross-cultural courtship themes abruptly shift gear into more dramatic material once one of the romantic leads goes into a coma, although the appearance of their parents (great performances by a high-energy Holly Hunter—who gets the film’s best scene—and an unusually likable Ray Romano) add more complications to the proceedings. Since the film revolves around a stand-up comedian, expect a few one-liners and glimpses at the tough life of these performers. The good script is backed by strong execution that manages to find a balance between very tricky material. It manages to combine modern cynicism with earned sincerity, and wraps things up with a belated but no less effective bow. There’s been a lot of hype about The Big Sick as an independent film darling, and it admirably sustains it during viewing.

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