The 2017 Sundance Film Festival is off to the races. After opening with the call-to-arms climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel on Thursday night, it looks like the first crowd-pleaser has arrived in the form of the romantic comedy The Big Sick – at least if early reaction (mainly from Twitter) is any indication. The film comes from director Michael Showalter (no stranger to crossover hits, like last year’s Sally Field-headlined comedy Hello, My Name is Doris) and a screenplay from Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani.
The contemporary culture-clash comedy comes straight from Gordon and Nanjiani’s own history. The writers used their own romantic story – shaped from the American-born Gordon and Pakistani-born Nanjiani – to dramatize this new feature film. The synopsis reads as, “Based on the true story of the film’s writers (and real-life couple), Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, this modern culture clash shows how Pakistan-born Kumail and his American girlfriend, Emily, have to overcome the expectations of his family and their 1,400-year-old traditions. As his parents relentlessly set him up with potential brides for an arranged marriage, Kumail navigates treacherous waters in the worlds of both dating and stand-up comedy.” Nanjiani (HBO’s Silicon Valley) stars alongside Zoe Kazan (Our Brand is Crisis). Oscar winner Holly Hunter, Ray Romano and Anupam Kher co-star. Judd Apatow is among the film’s producers.
The Big Sick is an acquisition title, yet if early reactions out of Park City remain true, the film may emerge as one of the big sales from the festival. The movie made its world premiere Friday evening in the Premieres section.
Sundance’s first big hit is THE BIG SICK, Kumail Nanjiani’s romcom-turned-kinda-dram crowdpleaser. Played great & Holly Hunter slays in it.
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) January 21, 2017
The Big Sick delivers –true romance well told with comedy. It will sell big and Zooey Kazan is in DC for women’s march tomorrow. — Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) January 21, 2017
THE BIG SICK is the first home run I’ve seen at Sundance. Tons of big laughs and super emotional to boot. MVP: Ray Romano
— Matt Singer (@mattsinger) January 21, 2017