The Big Sick ★★★★

A courtship comedy in which half of the central couple spends half the film in a coma. I've had it up to here with self-mythologizing stand-up comedians, but this is undeniably a delight; and even its many indulgences -- like how it protracts itself well past multiple perfectly good endings* -- are forgiven partially by the knowledge that it's a true story, and quite a harrowing one made remarkably digestible here. Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani (playing himself; he wrote the film with his wife Emily Gordon, portrayed by Kazan here) make a charming couple, and Nanjiani captures the grief and guilt of learning to stand up for oneself with accuracy and decency, but the film owes a surprising proportion of its appeal to the performances of Ray Romano, of all people, and Holly Hunter as the cranky worried potential in-laws. Hunter in particular is a national treasure who's immensely fun here, and Romano's timing throughout is on an unassailable level with Dustin Hoffman's in The Meyerowitz Stories. Movie renders the day-to-day mundane terrors of hospital life all too correctly, too. My biggest beef, not surprisingly, is the stand-up; admittedly there are only short bits and pieces of it, but good god, I hope this stuff is funnier in person. On the whole, though, I appreciate the rare phenomenon of finding a movie I really like that I can safely recommend to most people without the fear of blowback... unless they're really offended by 9/11 jokes (best line in the movie, by the way).

Features an existential fast food drive-thru scene so good it doesn't even matter that it has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film. It's like the cigarette commercial in Bananas.

* I thought Emily's spiel in the bag-of-mementos scene would've been a perfect, tough minded send-off, yet I'm also thankful for the screenwriters' sake that that's not how things really panned out!