‘The Lovebirds’ benefits from at home release

LOVEThe ongoing pandemic presents an interesting challenge for film distribution. Thus far in this moment in time, animated family films like Trolls: World Tour and Scoob! have seen incredible ROI for their straight to home releases.

Likewise, originally scheduled for a theatrical release, Paramount’s The Lovebirds will likely make a greater impact on audiences through its Netflix release.

Starring an unlikely duo in Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as Leilani and Jibran, the film centers around the seasoned couple with issues and dissatisfaction within their lives. Leilani wants more from Jibran in ambitious and success, while Jibran longs for a deeper Leilani who doesn’t have such a jaded perspective on marriage. After a heated argument leads them to believe their relationship is over, Jibran accidentally hits a biker with his car.

What follows is a chaotic series of events that which the couple is ill equipped to deal with. When they assume they’ll be framed for the biker’s death, they go on the run to attempt to solve the crime themselves and uncover the true culprit.

The story of The Lovebirds is nothing unseen.

Its tired, cliched, and been hammered to the ground many times before. It evokes the memory of older, better films like Tina Fey and Steve Carrell’s Date Night or 30 Minutes or Less. There is a slight twist in the film’s final act, but viewers shouldn’t expect too much of the film in terms of story.

What makes the film worth the watch is its leading stars. Most compelling is Rae’s turn as Leilani. Bringing a similar energy to her character from Insecure, Rae hilariously argues with Jibran about things like The Amazing Race or her boyfriends’ “murderous beard.” Her comedic timing, deadpan facial expressions, and infectious smile are enough to bring smiles to viewers in several scenes throughout the film.

Comparatively, Nanjiani delivers a solid performance. He embraces physical comedy in his inability to overpower a scrawny frat boy, and his whispered commentary on a cult meeting is often hysterical. That said, the Silicon Valley star’s performance felt too casual and noncommittal.

Further, while the two leads have undeniable comedic chemistry, they have little to no sexual chemistry and fail to convince the audience of their status as a couple. What’s more, their trivial relationship issues integrated with equally boring action sequences don’t do too much to add interest to the film or its characters. It almost would’ve been better for the two to be introduced as strangers on a first date before being roped into a night of crime. Not even a brief stint on The Amazing Race can save the poorly conceived script.

There’s a better film that exists in The Lovebirds, it just doesn’t get made.

The Lovebirds is an instantly forgettable comedy starring memorable people. It benefits from its at home release, as the film’s energy is casual and lighthearted for an afternoon in COVID-induced isolation. Viewers looking for anything more than a few good laughs, though, should instead look to the leads’ respective HBO series.

Author: Kieran Sweeney

Writing about entertainment for the better part of a decade and consuming it twice as much, Kieran Sweeney is "the" pop culture aficionado. A connoisseur of the intersection of art and commercialism, the USC Annenberg graduate has earned his reputation as an empathetic and thoughtful writer. His resume includes USC's The Daily Trojan, USC Viterbi News, and personal assistance for publicity and marketing companies from Drill Down Media to This Fiction. His intersectional experience in the industry points to his wit and unfiltered thoughts on the latest project in entertainment

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