By T.M. Powell

Even though The Big Sick is billed as a Rated R romantic comedy, the film is more of a dramatic look at relationships and how they affect the people around you including friends, family and your significant others. The movie is an autobiographical look at the real life of Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani who serves as the main star and writer of the film which is produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Michael Showalter. The film follows Kumail as a struggling small time comic/Uber driver in Chicago who immigrated from Pakistan years ago with his family. His old school Pakistani mother played wonderfully by Zenobia Shroff is not too happy with his career choices or the fact he still hasn’t settled down with a nice Muslim girl. Kumail’s life becomes more complicated when he meets an American girl named Emily (Zoe Kazan) which creates a culture clash as the relationship blossoms.

Kumail Nanjiani presents a unique love story that is also very relatable in many ways. The two may seem like an unlikely couple from to their respective families, but the pair are quite normal in many ways. Emily and Kumail have reservations about their relationship, which they end up ignoring becoming closer and closer each passing day. Just when the intimacy really begins to grow between the couple, certain secrets come to life that threaten their relationship. Without spoiling too much of The Big Sick, the problems surround Kumail’s traditional Pakistani family values and an event that drives the whole second half of movie where we are introduced to Emily’s parents from North Carolina played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

The Big Sick goes from a funny little love story, to a serious drama about dealing with the people you care about under the worst possible circumstances. Kumail Nanjiani manages to shine playing himself, which is easier said than done in certain situations. He’s smart, funny and charming as he courts Emily, but also shows off the sensitive and flawed side of his personality when emotionally hurt. Kumail Nanjiani delivers a stand out performance that deserves attention, but he’s not the only one who shows off in The Big Sick. Ray Romano is excellent as Emily’s nice guy to a fault father who is like many Dads you have come across in your life. The former sitcom star gives the audience a surprising dramatic turn that will surely earn him praise and future opportunities to act in more serious projects.

The acting work is superb and the clashing of cultures presents a rare story seldom seen in Hollywood, but the one major flaw in The Big Sick is the running time which drags leading up to its finale. The Big Sick spins its wheels in the third act and could have easily made its point shedding 20 minutes off the conclusion of the film. At times the movie seems to be on an unnecessary repeat cycle feeding the audience repetitive scenes to understand the characters even though the motives have been established. The performances and awkward love story save The Big Sick from an ending intent on making one point that things don’t always work out, but does everything it can to put a nice bow on top for the audience and  Kumail Nanjiani whose life this movie is based on.

Overall, I give The Big Sick 3 out 4 stars.

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