'The Lovebirds' Review: Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani push all the funny buttons in Netflix's rom-com thriller
Don't be fooled by the thriller vibe of the plotline, however, the Nanjiani and Rae starrer is an out-and-out romantic comedy
Spoilers for 'The Lovebirds' on Netflix
Early on in the Netflix movie 'The Lovebirds', Kumail Nanjiani's Jibran and Issa Rae's Leilani break up after four years together. That morning, as Leilani tried on multiple outfits, they argued about how they would fare on 'The Amazing Race'. At the same time, Jibran spoke passionately against a certain Keith, one of Leilani's friends whom he seems to have a problem with.
Four years ago, they had met on a dating app and instantly had a connection. Together ever since, they now have grown tired of each others' quirks and cannot continue being like this. But just as they decided this, a bicycle messenger hits their car. He manages to escape but leaves his phone behind. Barely a minute into this, their car is commandeered by someone claiming to be a police officer (played by Paul Sparks). They follow this so-called criminal till the cop runs over the messenger thrice killing him.
Now, Leilani and Jibran's first reaction is to flee the crime scene. Leilani later points out that it was a good idea to flee because them being people of color was enough for the police to convict them. They decide to solve this case by themselves. How? Now that they have the cyclist's phone, things might get easy if they follow clues. The idea is to nab the real killer and somehow present him to the cops and then walk free.
This leads to a series of hilarious misadventures. As Leilani and Jibran race against time to catch the killer who is leaving behind dead bodies as he walks, they are reminded of the good times they had and how they had gotten together in the first place. Over the course of the movie, they recount their feelings for each other and fight to emerge victorious.
With an unlikely showdown towards the end, the movie presents a cute offering of what happens when normal people are put in life-threatening situations. The movie has some low points, but it's easy to look beyond these and forgive them because Nanjiani and Rae are a thorough delight as the bickering Jibran and Leilani. Their onscreen chemistry is fun to watch and rarely gets boring.
Leilani and Jibran begin the movie enveloped in cluelessness about themselves and their relationships. Just as they had decided to part ways, their final words are interjected by an accident that changes their life forever — for the better, of course. By the end, you're relieved that this dysfunctional, normal partnership survived the impending doom they were threatened with.
Directed by Michael Showalter and written by Aaron Abrams and Brendan Gall, 'The Lovebirds' is very enjoyable a movie. Don't be fooled by the thriller vibe of the plotline, the Nanjiani and Rae starrer is an out-and-out romantic comedy. 'The Lovebirds' is currently streaming on Netflix.