Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler, Vella Lovell, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Jeremy Shamos, David Alan Grier, Ed Herbstman
Written by: Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon
Directed by: Michael Showalter
MPAA Rating: R for language including some sexual references
Running Time: 119
Date: 06/16/2017

The Big Sick (2017)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Going from Lad to Nurse

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

With The Big Sick, comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his real-life wife Emily V. Gordon co-wrote their love story into a romantic comedy, and though it's charming and contains some relevant discussion about romance between cultures, it plays a little too much like... a romantic comedy. It's far too long -- it's produced by that master of behemoth comedies, Judd Apatow -- and it includes at least a half-dozen endings. Nanjiani plays a comedian named Kumail, who, refreshingly, doesn't really have much trouble with the ladies. (He's not a typical neurotic movie comedian.) He meets Emily (Zoe Kazan), and they hit it off. Their "getting-to-know-you" sequences are fairly bold, and even discuss that awkward moment in which you have to use the bathroom (I mean #2) at your new partner's house. They fight and break up, and Emily gets an infection in her lungs and goes into the hospital. From there, Kumail hangs out with Emily's parents (Holly Hunter, who is wonderful, and Ray Romano, who -- I'm sorry -- has always annoyed me) and waits. There's a very satisfying scene wherein Hunter demolishes a bonehead frat-boy heckler at a comedy show. When Emily recovers, it takes a very, very, very long time for the lovers to reconcile. Meanwhile, there are the usual quirky, funny, best-friend characters; this time they are comedians as well, so they're at least good for some laughs. The Big Sick definitely gets extra points for its real-life factor, but I wish it had included more... life.

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