I have been a fan of Stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon for some time, they have a podcast called “The Indoor Kids” that deals mostly with video games that is very entertaining. Then Kumail started showing up in various movies, and got a large role as Dinesh on Silicon Valley – a really funny HBO comedy.
Kumail and Emily worked together to write a screenplay loosely based on the way they met and fell in love. It’s an interesting story, and really makes for an exceptional movie.
Kumail is working as a stand-up in Chicago, driving for Uber when not ‘gigging’. His family is steeped in Pakistani tradition, and would prefer him to have an arranged marriage to a nice Pakistani girl, like his brother. Seemingly once a week, they have him over for dinner, and his mother has a girl “stop by” so that he can meet her. While performing a set one night, a girl in the audience loudly reacts, and this leads to them having a brief but flirtatious encounter after the set. They quickly begin dating, and seem very happy together.
Eventually Emily learns that Kumail has not yet told his family about her, because his parents are so insistent that he marry a Pakistani woman they choose. This upsets her, because she has told her parents all about him. They break up, and while broken up, Kumail receives a call from one of her friends stating that she is in the hospital, and needs someone with her.
As he visits her, her condition worsens, and he has to call her parents to come in to be with her as she is put into a coma so that doctors can analyze the situation. Over the course of her coma, as her health gets better, then worse, then better again – Kumail gets to know her parents, gets a career opportunity, and learns to be clear with his own parents about what he wants from his life, and how important Emily is to him.
The movie is fun, charming, and touching. Directed by Michael Showalter (a veteran of The State comedy troupe), the movie is fairly fast paced for something where one of the two leads spends a lot of time in a coma. The emotions feel genuine, and the cast is just wonderful.
- Kumail Najiani has been so good for so long, it’s great to see him really get to step into the spotlight with this movie.
- Zoe Kazan plays Emily, mostly because the real Emily is not an actor, and Zoe does a great job of playing her with a warmth that is
- Holly Hunter plays Beth, Emily’s mother, and Ray Romano plays Terry, Emily’s father. They are fantastic as they slowly get to know and respect Kumail as they try to deal with their daughter’s illness.
- When Kumail asked his real father who he would like to play him in the movie, he wanted Bollywood legend Anupam Kher, who was also the father in Bend It like Beckham. They actually got him, and he is really spectacular as a man who wants to uphold tradition, but also loves his son and wants him to be happy. Zenobia Shroff plays Sharmeen, Kumail’s mother, who is really just focused on getting him married. Adeel Akhtar plays Kumail’s brother Naveed.
- Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler all play versions of themselves as comedians in Kumail’s circle of friends who offer advice and insults at varying points. David Alan Grier has basically a cameo as the comedy club owner, Andy Dodd.
Overall, the movie is at times hilarious, and at times really emotional. It’s the best ‘little’ movie I’ve seen this year, and everyone should check it out. It started in a limited release, so it’s still playing here and there. Go see it, you’ll enjoy it.
9 out of 10 – gained points for the pictures of Kumail and Emily’s real wedding over the end credits. Fantastic!
Cast Interviews from THR!