‘The Lovebirds’ movie review: A series of unfortunate but funny misadventures

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Love is a strange thing. In the case of Netflix’s new film, The Lovebirds, it transforms from an adorable meet cute into a full-blown four-year relationship that’s on the verge of collapse. But that doesn’t stop the couple from having a misadventure of their lifetime. Documentary filmmaker Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) and advertising professional Leilani (Issa Rae) are en route a party when they get carjacked. Their vehicle is used to run over, several times in fact, a bicyclist. Instead of going to the police, the now ex-lovers try to solve the crime themselves which naturally gets increasingly dangerous and bizarre.

With two top-billing comedians – Nanjiani soared in The Big Sick and shone bright in Silicon Valley; Rae struck gold with InsecureThe Lovebirds is bound to be funny. That’s an understatement. Aaron Abrams and Brendan Gall’s screenplay captures two neurotic individuals and manifests their complementary and simultaneously clashing personalities to brilliant effect. The comedic timing is spot on. The banter absolutely natural. Leilani likes being spontaneous and is certain they will win The Amazing Race, should they participate. Jibran, with a hatred for reality television disagrees, but secretly binges Mythbusters and likes scheduling their love making.

The Lovebirds

  • Director: Michael Showalter
  • Cast: Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Anna Camp, Paul Sparks
  • Storyline: Jibran and Leilani get carjacked by someone who murders a bicyclist in broad daylight. They must solve this crime to prove they’re innocent

The one-liners and jibes are aplenty, even in the most incongruous of circumstances. Like when Leilani insults a white frat boy calling him Brett Kavanaugh. Even subtle hat tips to the starring duo’s skin colour is heavily laced with humour. The Lovebirds goes through the murder of many, a secret cult organisation, an orgy and even, gasp, hand-to-hand combat which to Nanjiani’s credit is equal parts pathetic and real. It’s settled, the film is funny and entertaining.

Where it falls short, and that is a huge chasm to have to bridge, is the film’s haphazard narrative. Each pickle Leilani and Jibran find themselves in, is crafted perfectly. But that’s each situation by itself. Together, the whole plot just seems like some celestial being is out to win a never-ending one-upmanship contest. Then there’s the non-existent romantic chemistry between the protagonists. Their comedic partnership is great but their few-and-far-between kisses seem unnatural. The Lovebirds will certainly not go down in cinematic history as the greatest romantic comedy ever made. But it will keep that one lazy night filled with plenty of chuckles.

The Lovebirds is currently streaming on Netflix



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