In June, the Pakistani-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani took to Twitter to outline his love for Richard Curtis’ film, Four Weddings And A Funeral. “I started stand-up cuz of Hugh Grant’s best man speech in the beginning,” he gushed. It transpires that a chance meeting with Curtis had snowballed to the extent that the filmmaker sent Nanjiani four frames from his personal reel of Four Weddings. Such a big-hearted gesture is worthy of one of Curtis’ films; but it is also true of The Big Sick, an autobiographical meta-comedy charting Nanjiani’s courtship with his future wife, Emily V Gordon, starring Nanjiani and co-written by Nanjiani and Gordon.
“The Big Sick” is a mysterious illness that suddenly strikes Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) after she and Nanjiani have split up. Their courtship had been smooth and exciting but Nanjiani develops commitment issues: marrying a woman of his choosing from outside his religion and community would be an unforgivable slight. “I can’t lose my family,” he tells Emily. Now she is seriously ill and Nanjiani finds himself waiting around intensive care in the company of Emily’s bemused parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano).
Working with director Michael Showalter and producer Judd Apatow, Nanjiani and Gordon have crafted a deft and appearling film that addresses subjects ranging from cultural change to the unhappy lot of the Uber driver. Nanjiani is likably geekish while Kazan is smartly understated. Hunter and Romano, meanwhile, bring dramatic heft to what could otherwise be generic supporting roles.
The September 2017 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring Neil Young on the cover. Elsewhere in the issue, there are new interviews with Mark E Smith, Nick Lowe, Iron & Wine and Sigur Rós, we remember Dennis Wilson and explore the legacy of Elvis Presley. We review Grizzly Bear, Queens Of The Stone Age, Arcade Fire, Brian Eno and The War On Drugs. Our free CD features 15 tracks of the month’s best music, including Randy Newman, Richard Thompson, Oh Sees, Lal & Mike Waterson, Psychic Temple, FJ McMahon and Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band and more.