The Big Sick (2017): Kumail Nanjiani Plays Himself for Two Hours, and It’s Not Bad


“The Big Sick” is directed by Michael Showalter and stars Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Central Intelligence), Zoe Kazan (What If, Ruby Sparks), Holly Hunter (The Incredibles, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), and Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond, Ice Age) in a movie which is marketed stating that it’s based on “an awkward true story.” This movie, starring Kumail Nanjiani, as actually about Kumail himself, and this is actually based on the relationship between Kumail and the movie’s love interest, Emily, whose relationship has some blunders having to do with their cultural differences.

Going into this film, I didn’t really know what to think, I believe I do remember seeing ads for this film on TV, and I like Kumail Nanjiani. I’m also a huge fan of Ray Romano, even though in my book he hasn’t really done much of anything worth remembering in recent years. And if you know me well enough in real life, I’m not the type of person who flocks to the theater for rom-coms, although I did see something special in this movie considering it’s based on a true story involving one of the movie’s stars, producers, and writers, not to mention it has excellent scores given by Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb users, Metacritic, etc.

Usually when I talk about characters in a movie, the traditional thing I do is find an image of them related to the movie they’re in. For Kumail Nanjiani’s character, you may notice I’m doing something a little different. Why? Well, as I mentioned earlier, Kumail is playing himself in this movie. In other movies, this would usually be a complaint from some people, like how Melissa McCarthy, Ed Helms, or Adam Sandler might play the same character from movie to movie in some way, shape, or form. Although here, since it’s based on a true story involving an actor playing a past version of himself, this should be the one of the easiest acting gigs in the entire universe. So how does Nanjiani do? He does quite well, I didn’t like him as a character at first, but watching him in this movie, it felt nice seeing him grow as a person. His character was a shining star through this movie, and at times I felt his pain. There’s also one action that happens just about a quarter of the way through the movie as the main plot is developing that took this movie from being good to great.

While we’re on the topic of actors playing themselves, we can’t say the same for the actress playing Emily in this film, however this is Emily in real life. In the movie, she’s played by Zoe Kazan, although I couldn’t find a picture of her in this movie where she’s alone, so this is what you’re gonna have to settle for. Anyways, Emily in this film had some of the funniest lines, I thought she was a truly compelling character, and I thought she brought a lot to the table, although when I say that, consider how she’s a main character in this movie.

As much as this is ultimately Kumail Nanjiani’s movie, he’s one of the people that came up with an idea for it as a whole, I gotta say that in terms of aspects I thought were compelling throughout the movie, Holly Hunter is probably at the top of my list. Casting, GREAT JOB! I have no idea how much this character relates to the actual story, but nevertheless, seeing Holly Hunter as Beth at several points of the runtime just made me want to see more of her. If this were a film released during the fall, Hunter would have a higher chance of being up for an Oscar in my book.

Also, let’s not forget, Ray Romano. As mentioned, this guy hasn’t really done much of anything worth mentioning, and by that, I mean anything relatively acceptable, since “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” back in 2009. He was on Parenthood, which I heard was good, although it’s not aimed at my demographic and I never watched it. I saw him as a guest on an episode of “Kevin Can Wait,” but I completely forgot about it because the show was barely watchable. I can officially say, Ray’s back! I thought he aced his role, I was able to buy into his character, and he played a really good older dad character.

The chemistry shown between Kumail and Emily throughout this movie was believable, and if it wasn’t believable I probably would have taken major points off of this movie’s score, because this is based on true events involving the film’s main character, who is being played by the same person who experienced said events, not to mention that guy wrote and produced the movie with someone else who’s crucial to the film itself. I can’t exactly tell you I’m a guru who oversees every single detail of every person’s life and confirm that what is being shown on screen is entirely true, because I don’t know everything. There’s a good chance that someone could be reading this right now and I don’t know who it is. Granted since WordPress allows you to view what country a reader is from, or the name of the source they found this post, or perhaps a search term somebody used, I might get to know something about a certain reader, but not every detail is revealed. All I can say is, this movie set a very believable mood throughout. Some of the dialogue almost crossed the border to cheesy but it doesn’t go overboard with it and who knows, maybe those cheesy words were spoken.

As far as other complaints in this movie go, I do have a couple. First off, let’s talk about the editing. Overall this movie is well crafted and doesn’t have many flaws when it comes to editing. Although just because it doesn’t have many flaws, doesn’t mean it can’t have a few. There’s one scene in this movie which we see Kumail on a cell phone, it just cuts randomly a couple times, and yet we’re still looking at the same subject, the subject being Kumail in the same situation. It almost reminded me of “You Can’t Have It,” a movie that only 23 users on IMDb gave a verdict to, including me, only that movie had a s*itton more jumpcuts than this movie did, by the way don’t watch “You Can’t Have It.” That’s just a minor problem I have and on the subject of minor problems, is the product placement. I get it, films need product placement sometimes. But I remember seeing numerous scenes with a laptop in it, and just about every time, there was a MacBook. Oh yeah, the same goes with an IPhone. I remember seeing an IPhone in a lot of this movie’s scenes as well. Granted I recall seeing a Dell laptop too, but I think that was only one time. I might be somewhat OK with this if every single product shown here is true to the story, although it might remain as an issue. Although I don’t think something like this would be true because I’m looking at the technology and from my memory, the technology probably looked a little too futuristic. There’s a black IPhone in the movie and I believe it’s a newer model because I RECALL seeing the home button not having a square on it, which is a flaw for this movie because in real life, this movie takes place in the 2000s based on research, and the first IPhone with a home button to not have a square on it was the IPhone 5S which was released to the public in 2013. MAYBE I’M WRONG, MAYBE I’M IMAGINING THINGS, BUT THIS COMPLAINT STANDS *FOR NOW.* However, this movie is from Amazon Studios and when it releases on home video, it’s very likely that this movie won’t take a long time to become free on Amazon so I could probably watch it again and see if I was imagining things or not.

In the end, “The Big Sick” is worth seeing. I thought the performances all around were excellent, I thought this movie was well written, and there were little to no issues overall when it comes to this movie. Admittedly, it starts off rather slow, but it didn’t take much longer until my eyes were glued to the screen. I’m gonna give “The Big Sick” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review. This Tuesday, I’m going to see the movie, “Dunkirk” in IMAX 70mm, words can’t describe my excitement! Also, I just want everyone to know, in case it actually interests you, “The Emoji Movie” comes out this upcoming Friday, July 28th. I have no intentions to see it, but, I would imagine a lot of you would want me to see it because of how atrocious this movie looks, so I DON’T KNOW if I’ll deliver on this, we’ll see what happens. But, if you want me to see “The Emoji Movie,” and I’m also not saying I’ll do this opening weekend if this manages to be a common request, leave a comment to this post with the following hashtag, you can include it by itself or in a comment with other words in it: #GOSCREWYOURSELFEMOJIMOVIE. I’m not saying it has to be all capital letters, but you get my point. I interacted with some people in my school, and they want me to see this movie. I’m wondering if I’ll even do that, but I might do this movie review for you if I get enough requests. And besides, “Atomic Blonde” is coming out the same weekend and I kinda wanna see that, not to mention “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is out now too. Anyway, stay tuned for more reviews, and if you want to increase the chances of a review for “The Emoji Movie,” get cracking in the comments section. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!


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