The Lovebirds is a romantic action-comedy that follows a couple that recently break-up that get involved in a murder case. Michael Showalter, the director of The Big Sick, partners up with Kumail Nanjiani yet again and Issa Rae to make the film. It was supposed to play in theaters but the COVID-19 situation led to Paramount selling the film to Netflix.
The Big Sick was a film I had zero expectations for but absolutely loved. Showalter brilliantly blended the heart and humour in the script to make one of the best movies of the last few years. Kumail Nanjiani hasn’t had the best track record after the semi-biographical film as he’s made some pretty underwhelming films such as Stuber but repairing with the man who helped bring success the first time seems like the ideal way to bounce back.
The Lovebirds has moments but unfortunately never really capitalises on a fun premise and two great leads. Nanjiani and Rae are obviously very talented comedic actors and very naturally slide into these characters. The best moments in the film are the smaller interactions between them such as the opening or one of the car singing scenes as it allows the chemistry between them and the talent they have to shine.
Unfortunately, the script doesn’t really give them enough opportunities to shine. Too many jokes throughout the film fall flat. Sure, some of them work really well but for a movie that aims to make the audience laugh, it misses far too often. Some jokes felt incredibly cringeworthy and others felt overused. A song that was used as a joke in a much funnier comedy six years ago (do not want to spoil the song for this movie or that comedy but if you know, you know) and it doesn’t work as well here and may have even lessened the impact of the scene. Another gripe I had with the script was how packed it was with cliches. The premise is solid but it’s a shame that the second half crumbles due to the various genre cliches and forced beats. Furthermore, the two leads frequently make baffling decision for the sole reason to move the plot forward which can get frustrating.
For a film that pitches itself as an action-comedy, the way the action is staged is straight up awful. Showalter is a solid director but his blocking and framing here is incredibly bland and the editing makes it very hard to follow.
Although I am making it seem like the film was a complete train wreck, it works fine for the time it was released. During this quarantine, it is a fairly harmless way to spend 87 minutes due to a few funny moments and the chemistry Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani have.