The Lovebirds review – a very funny comedy that’s love at first fight

May 20, 2020
M.N. Miller 1
Film, Film Reviews, Netflix
4

Summary

Director Michael Showalter continues his hot streak with The Lovebirds, a very funny comedy with solid chemistry between the film’s charismatic leads.

4

Summary

Director Michael Showalter continues his hot streak with The Lovebirds, a very funny comedy with solid chemistry between the film’s charismatic leads.

This review of The Lovebirds (Netflix) is spoiler-free.


The Lovebirds (Netflix) has the distinction of being the first significant movie pulled from the schedule (April 3rd) and sold off to a streaming service that’s not a studio. Netflix, per reports, bought the distribution rights for the Michael Showalter-directed comedy for a reported 20-million dollars on a product that cost around the same price tag (the film cost around 16 million to produce). This all could have added up to a bleak outlook for the film. Still, thankfully, for the price of subscription without premium on-demand prices, The Lovebirds is a hilarious, entertaining comedy propelled by the excellent comedic timing and appeal of the film’s leads.

The lovebirds in question are Leilani and Jibran, played by Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, who has hit a rough patch after starting hot and heaving, reaching a plateau-like most relationships but then taking a tumble with constant arguing and bickering. Four years later, the heat is now gone, and the connection they built has reached their breaking point — right before taking out a bike messenger with their beige Volvo. They then find themselves caught up in a mystery and suspects in a murder that they must solve to clear their names by working together for the last time.

The Lovebirds belongs to a group of films that trick the viewer into thinking most of the lines are ad-libbed by its talented cast. Aaron Abrams (Davis in Code 8) and Brendan Gail (Blindspot) are well-designed with quick, clever dialogue delivered expertly by the leads. Nanjiani and Rae have real sparks but never lose their comic timing that doesn’t grow too contentious, resulting in a loss of appeal, and never reach the “just stop bickering already” levels of Sam and Diane either. You can always tell how much they care for each other.

Both of the leads have been building reputations as consistent performers, even after last year’s flop Stuber and Little, and continue to build solid resumes. Rae is a natural talent, with such range, and demonstrated that earlier this year in The Photograph. She draws the film’s biggest laughs when interrogating a local frat boy — which is no small feat when paired with a comic standout like Nanjiani.

The film is always entertaining and habitually moving by pushing the story along at a brisk pace, even if many of the film’s scenes don’t quite work in terms of the plot. I appreciate how the main plot flaw in stories like this has to do with doing a straightforward action that would make the film short but is addressed by the end, which is refreshing considering the beating law enforcement has taken the past decade.

Showalter cut his teeth by writing the script for the cult-hit Wet Hot American Summer and directing one of 2017s very best films, The Big Sick. The Lovebirds may never be as culturally significant as those films. Still, by being on Netflix during the first pandemic in nearly a century, it will surely be the number-one movie in America by the week’s end. The fact that it’s a good comedy with consistent laughs with appealing performances may very well make it one of the biggest hits of 2020 and the most needed comedy in recent memory. It’s love at first fight.


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1 thought on “The Lovebirds review – a very funny comedy that’s love at first fight

  • May 23, 2020 at 11:03 am
    Permalink

    I’d give it a 2/5 max, but just because we were able to watch it at home (I can’t imagine how disappointed I would’ve been if I payed a ticket price for this). It was too simple, predicable, not funny enough (see My Spy), bad script.

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