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The Lovebirds is a Lovely Distraction: Movie Review

Photo: Netflix
The Lovebirds is a Lovely Distraction: Movie Review
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins has been a reporter with Oakville News since 2016. Covering local news and live events, he specializes in film, theatre, and entertainment. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. Tyler is a proud graduate of Journalism and Performing Arts from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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The Lovebirds is a passable distraction in today’s movie landscape. There’s so few new things being released these days. But since cinemas have closed, this is among the first to have been re-distributed to streaming services. And while nothing special, it is mostly the one thing a movie should be: entertaining.

New Orleans couple Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) and Leilani (Issa Rae) have experienced a defining moment in their relationship. That moment? Being in the wrong taxi leads them to be unintentionally embroiled in a murder mystery.

Soon the journey to clear their names take them from one extreme circumstance to the next. Now, they need to figure out how they can survive the night – by somehow solving the mystery.

Nanjiani and Rae are by far the best part of The Lovebirds – their thankfully focal relationship have great chemistry. Better still, the pair (both also co-producers) have stratospheric comedic timing.

This is one of the few instances where the improvised comedy between leads works. Most of the jokes still have nothing to do with the plot. But while occasionally overly vulgar, most of them are also sincere, sweet, and very funny.

Photo: Netflix

Photo: Netflix

A great example is how adaptive Jibran and Leilani are as they investigate the crime. Each new encounter they have builds on the progressively crazy events from before: Their silly “intimidation” is just them repeating how they were weirdly interrogated a few scenes before.

On another note, it’s a great move that the whole plot isn’t around the protagonist’s races. It’s common to see films with south asian leads centre conflicts about their culture and own families. To see the characters be aware and present but not have their ethnicity be the biggest obstacle is truly progressive for a Hollywood comedy.

Director Michael Showalter has worked with Nanjiani as a star before – he directed 2017’s The Big Sick, both their breakout feature. That film, however, was far superior in many ways. Showater is showing his experience as both a positive and negative.

The Big Sick had greater dramatic heft and better comedy. But it also had a master class cast beyond just the two principals and a literally bigger plot.

Maybe having The Lovebirds move to Netflix has turned out to be an asset and better platform for this title. The story, taking place in one night and about a (resonably) small crime, is small in nature. That makes it funnier watching it on a smaller screen.

This might not have worked so well in theatres. But on Netflix, it’s a forgettably funny crime romance. And with so few new movies coming out these days, maybe that’s enough for a makeshift date night.

The Lovebirds

6 out of 10
14A, 1hr 27mins. Action Romance Crime Comedy.
Directed by Michael Showalter.
Starring Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae, Anna Camp, Kyle Bornheimer and Paul Sparks.
Now available to stream on Netflix for subscribers.

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