Set to release in theaters April 3, The Lovebirds became one of the number of cinematic casualties of the COVID-19 shutdown. After finding new life on Netflix this month, it’s joined the ranks of other films that have skipped theaters altogether.
Starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple who are on the verge of ending their four-year relationship, The Lovebirds falls flat on its comedy and follows a very paint-by-numbers design that never leaves the audience guessing if the murder-mystery plot will end with anything other than the two “lovebirds” back together.
Featuring the crumbling relationship between Leilani and Jibran, (played by Rae and Nanjiani respectively), The Lovebirds’ plot takes a wild turn after the pair decide to break up on the way to a friend’s party.
As the two bicker back and forth, Jibran accidentally hits a cyclist who is clearly in a hurry. After helping the cyclist up, the frightened man hops back on his bike and speeds off forgetting his phone.
Suddenly, an undercover police officer commandeers the couple’s vehicle with them still inside as they watch as he runs over the cyclist in a shtick that lasts a painfully long time. Realizing that the couple has the phone he’s chased the cyclist down for, he then chases after Leilani and Jibran as the couple try to solve the mystery of why this undercover cop killed the cyclist.
Hijinks ensue, featuring a bacon grease interrogation, an orgy cult and plenty of moments for Leilani and Jibran to realize that they make a good team and should stay together.
Though I find the script and jokes very mediocre, The Lovebirds has a small bit of charm with the relationship between Leilani and Jibran. Despite the fact that the story of a bored, straightlaced couple falling into a world of crime they know nothing about has been done before, (Date Night and Game Night), the chemistry that Rae and Nanjiani have is very apparent.
It’s the chemistry of the pair and the believability in their relationship’s struggle of doubt and comfort that makes The Lovebirds a watchable movie. Other than that, the film feels both dated and cliché with its attempt to write a suspenseful yet funny script.
Except Jibran and Leilani, no other character’s name is memorable as the those who surround the couple are basically written and unenthusiastically performed. The movie’s bad guy, the undercover cop from the beginning, is stupid and the most generic crooked cop character I’ve seen put to film in a long time.
The Lovebirds is a basic and predictable story with a villain who fails to scare or make the audience laugh. With a tired plot and jokes, the film’s saving grace is the on-screen chemistry of Rae and Nanjiani. Though I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone who’s looking for a good film to watch on Netflix, I believe that The Lovebirds is inoffensive enough to have on in the background with friends and family when the stay-at-home order allows it.
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