The Lovebirds Movie Review: Needed more wind beneath its wings
Despite Rae and Nanjiani making the most of what they are given in The Lovebirds, the situations are all too generic
While being chased by cops and a criminal ring, the ‘out-of-love but still-in-love’ couple Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) and Leilani (Issa Rae) walk into a party hosted by their friends. They are looking for help to hack the phone of a dead person. A person who was run over right in front of them. Run over by their own car, which was carjacked by a gruff moustached guy. The guy, who is now after the couple to bump them off. The couple who has just escaped from having hot bacon grease poured on their faces. Jibran’s face is bleeding because of an escape involving a very angry horse. The IT guy mentioned early in this review, looks at Jibran and says, “There is blood on your face?” A very cautious Jibran, visibly stringing words in his head, says, “Hmmm… yeah… it’s a big disgrace.” Though the preceding scenes were only interesting in spurts, this punchline was a scream.
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae, Paul Sparks
Director: Michael Showalter
Streaming on: Netflix
The film begins with Nanjiani and Rae having a one-night fling that somehow results in four years of living together. What felt cute once is annoying now. What felt exciting once is shallow now. It is Marriage Story all over again. And for some reason, they decide to discuss this while driving a car. This, of course, results in an accident, which kicks off a meandering chain of events that is mostly predictable but fleetingly funny. A few gags are done right, especially one that involves an Eyes Wide Shut-inspired sex cult.
Rae and Nanjiani feed off each other’s comic timing and deliver even droll lines with commitment. For any romcom worth its salt to work, it is important that the leads be charming, funny, and complement each other. In The Lovebirds, the casting is on point, but it is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Despite Rae and Nanjiani making the most of what they are given, the situations are all too generic. The romance is generic. The classic mix-up is generic. The seemingly impossible situation to make their way out of is generic. There is no palpable tension. There is no proverbial twist in the tale. Oh wait, there is… But even that is generic.
At one point in The Lovebirds, Jibran and Leilani are referred to as a nice but annoying couple. This succinctly describes the movie. It is nice. It is warm. It ties up loose ends. It manages to make us smile, and even laugh at times. But this is all constantly undercut by a general predictability. These Lovebirds are cute and fuzzy, but their flight isn't as high as it should have been.