The Lovebirds (2020)

The Lovebirds
Director: Michael Showalter
Writer: Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall
Cast: Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp, Nicholas X. Parsons, Kyle Bornheimer
Seen on: 18.10.2020

Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) have been happy for a long time, but probably not anymore. On the way to a dinner party, they start to fight yet again – and break up. Just at this moment, a guy (Paul Sparks) stops their car, telling them he’s a police officer chasing after a criminal. He gets in and they drive after the other guy. But when they catch up with him, the supposed police officer doesn’t arrest the supposed criminal, but just murders him using their car, then taking off. Leilani and Jibran fear that they are going to be blamed for the murder. In their panic, they decide to track down the guy who got them into this mess themselves and bring him to the police. That is easier said than done, though.

The Lovebirds is made by its two leads, who play their characters perfectly and have a great connection with each other. That makes the film fun to watch even when it isn’t quite as hilarious as you’d like.

The film poster showing Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) sitting in a baxk alley filled with trash, looking exhausted.

Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani really are perfect in this film. They give their characters a real connection, so you really have no trouble believing that they have been a couple for a long time, knowing each other inside and out. Both of their characters are also just unlikeable enough that you understand their annoyance with each other and why they’d break up, but not so unlikeable that you stop rooting for them, or don’t secretly wish that they’d work things out already. Plus, they are both just plain funny. (Also, I’m in love with Issa Rae like woah.)

That they are so amazing isn’t just good per se, it really made the film. Because apart from them, it doesn’t really have all that much to offer, apart from a wonderful Anna Camp in a small role. The best part is certainly the quick collage of how Leilani and Jibran met and fell in love, a beautiful speed run through a romcom that I wish we had gotten to see in full length.

Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) looking surprised and worried.

The plot has a couple of nice moments, but it spirals completely out of control in its comedic attempts at exageration. It just takes things that essential step too far, out of comedy and into eyeroll territory. They should have left Eyes Wide Shut out of it.

Overall, while I loved Rae and Nanjiani, I didn’t really love the film, I’m afraid. I didn’t have as much fun with as I had with (the very similar) Game Night and that’s a pity. But sign me up for anything else those two make – hopefully together again at some point.

Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) dressed in strange clothes at their friends' dinner party.

Summarizing: very watchable.

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