Movie Review: “The Lovebirds”
Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) have been through a rough patch in their relationship. They have not been on the same page for a while, but now they have found themselves in quite the mess. While on their way to meet friends for dinner, a cyclist came out of nowhere, and Jibran ended up hitting the man with his car. Jibran and Leilani tried to talk to him to see if he was alright, but the cyclist was in a panic, and rode off in a hurry. Shortly after, a man claiming to be a police officer came running, and needed to borrow Jibran's car. Then, with Jibran and Leilani in the vehicle, the man rode down the cyclist and ran him over multiple times with Jibran’s car.
The cyclist was clearly dead, and the mysterious man just walked away from the scene without saying a word. Now witnesses think that it was Jibran and Leilani who were responsible for the cyclist's death. In a panic, Jibran and Leilani flee the scene of the crime, but they soon realize that this only made them look more guilty, and that the police would never believe their story. Thus, with their relationship on rocky ground already, the two need to work together to find the real killer in order to clear their names.
The Pros & Cons
The Premise (+5pts)
Relationship Tension (-3pts)
Kumail Nanjiani & Issa Rae (+6pts)
The Cult (-4pts)
The Comedy (+5pts)
Too Easy (-2pts)
Pro: The Premise (+5pts)
The premise for this movie was simple, but it was effective. An innocent couple found themselves in an incredibly impossible situation, which left them looking like the primary suspects in a brutal murder. On top of that, their real story sounds so impossible to believe that the couple had decided they could not go to the cops unless they found the real killer first. Thus, a couple of innocent civilians had to become detectives (of sorts), while also trying to stay off of the police's radar. It was a silly premise, sure, but it was simple, and it made way for plenty of comedy around this entertaining couple and the craziness that they found themselves in.
Con: Relationship Tension (-3pts)
This was a part of the movie that I thought needed work. As it was, I thought the whole storyline of Jibran and Leilani being in a rough patch in their relationship was unnecessary. However, let us assume that the filmmakers really wanted this part of the story in here. If that was the case, then the whole thing still just needed work.
The filmmakers could have just had these two be exes, and doing so could have made the setup a lot easier. Instead, the filmmakers gave us a long drawn-out setup that basically just told us that they were going through a pretty major rough patch. Then, on top of the unnecessarily drawn-out setup, it was really easy to see where the filmmakers would take this whole storyline throughout the course of the movie. I just did not think this tension was necessary at all, I thought the filmmakers could have done a much better job of setting it up (if it had to be in here at all), and it was easy to see where the filmmakers were going with the whole thing. Did it ruin the movie? Absolutely not, but I thought this whole storyline needed work.
Pro: Kumail Nanjiani & Issa Rae (+6pts)
I knew what type of movie this was, and I knew what to expect from Kumail Nanjiani, so I knew he would do a great job with this role. He has been funny in everything I have seen him in, but he also delivered a great dramatic performance in The Big Sick. Whether or not this movie was good, I knew Kumail Nanjiani would be good in the role. Issa Rae on the other hand, was someone that I had not seen before, so I did not know what to expect from her.
Fortunately, she did a great job in this movie as well. She kept up with Kumail Nanjiani comedically, and the two had great chemistry together. This was a movie that relied heavily on the two actors in the two lead roles. Kumail Nanjiani delivered, as expected, but Issa Rae delivered an equally strong performance. This movie really only worked because of how well they both did with these roles, and how well they worked together on screen.
Con: The Cult (-4pts)
Without getting into the details to avoid spoilers, there was a weird cult in this movie. In order to see what this cult was doing, or how they involved they were in the story, you will need to see the movie. All I will say is that the whole thing was ridiculous enough for me to consider them to be an issue. Before introducing this cult, the whole story was silly, but it was realistic and believable. As such, I was able to put myself in the main character's shoes pretty easily. Then the whole cult thing was introduced, and it was so ridiculous and unbelievable that it kind of took me out of the movie. It did not ruin the movie, but it was ridiculous, it complicated an otherwise simple premise, and I thought the filmmakers would have been better off if they put something else in its place.
Pro: The Comedy (+5pts)
While there were aspects of this story that were predictable (like where the filmmakers would leave things between Jibran and Leilani), the comedy certainly was not. This was one of those movies that very naturally made for a number of comedic moments, and it was always hard to see what would come next. A lot of comedy came from the situation these two characters were in, a lot of comedy came from Kumail Nanjiani, and a lot of comedy came from the two main characters interacting with one another through it all. This was not the type of comedy that will leave a lasting impression on you, but there was plenty of comedy in here, and it made this a funny, entertaining movie movie for most of the time it was on.
Con: Too Easy (-2pts)
I will be honest, this was a pretty minor complaint. In short, I just thought things went a little too easily for the main characters. Sure, they were faced with challenges, but they always seemed to have a conveniently easy time dealing with those challenge. When they came to what seemed like a dead end in their pursuit of the killer, they barely had time to think of it as a possible dead end before, conveniently, a new lead would pop up. When they were faced with challenges, they conveniently had exactly the tools or resources necessary to solve those challenges. I liked the movie, and I thought it was funny, but I thought the story would have been a lot more effective if I felt like the characters actually got something done, as opposed to just being incredibly lucky.
Grade: B- (82pts)
I saw ads for this movie in theaters awhile back, then the whole COVID-19 thing came and I completely forgot about this movie. Then I saw it pop up on Netflix, and I was a little confused. I guess, when theaters closed due to COVID-19, Paramount Pictures sold the rights to distribute the movie to Netflix. Long story short, this was intended to be a theatrical release that you get to watch for free (assuming you already have a Netflix account), but was the movie any good?
It was not the type of comedy that will leave a lasting impression on you, but I thought it was pretty funny. There was plenty of comedy in here, and most of that comedy worked. Kumail Nanjiani was as funny as you would expect him to be, but Issa Rae (an actress I had personally never seen before) was right there with him, delivering plenty of effective comedic moments herself, and having decent on screen chemistry with Kumail Nanjiani. I had a few minor issues with the overall plot. The relationship tension storyline was not executed well by the filmmakers, the whole cult thing was too ridiculous for me, and the main characters seemed to have too easy of a time dealing with the challenges that they faced. Fortunately, I thought these were minor issues, and I thought the movie was funny, entertaining, and I had a decent time watching it.