The very first script I wrote way back in 1986 was called “Stand Up” and it was loosely based on my experiences doing what could charitably be called stand-up comedy (I did it for 2 years before I sold the spec script K-9). So, I appreciate a LOT the stand-up bits in The Big Sick. Not easy to make something which is pretty much by definition a spontaneous thing into scripted content, yet it feels funny and authentic, but I felt the script did a good job in this regard.
However, I want to focus my attention on a character who may tend to be overlooked and that’s Kumail’s father: Azmat. He’s hysterical. For example, consider this line when he is saying goodbye to Kumail as Kumail leaves for NYC:
“I am forbidden from hugging you. So. It was nice to have you as my son. Goodbye forever. And do me a favor, when you reach New York, just text us and tell us that you’ve reached safely, okay?”
Throughout the story, the father is caught between the conservatism of his wife and the liberalism of his son Kumail. Who to side with? Ultimately, his wife, but it’s a struggle, and we see that in his dialogue.
But the most satisfying line of dialogue, at least to me, is when Emily shows up in NYC as Kumail is doing standup there. There is a deft callback to her ‘woo hoo’ bit of business from the opening, then Kumail asks, “What brings you to New York?” And Emily responds, “I’m here to see someone.” It’s a classic ‘give ’em what they expect, then give ’em what they want’ line: she’s there to see Kumail. Happy ending. Fade out. The end.
That said, there are SO many great lines in the script, especially the comedic ones. It’s a wonderful read in that regard, one laugh after another, yet grounded in a complex and nuanced relationship story.
How about you? What dialogue did you like in The Big Sick?