Kumail Nanjiani And Issa Rae Are “The Lovebirds” In This Action Comedy Romp


A good comedy pairing is always a joy to watch, almost regardless of the material. When a comedy’s premise can be high quality as well, laughs are inevitable for those watching the film. Such is most certainly the case with The Lovebirds, a very funny new movie that is hitting Netflix this week, after seeing its original release by Paramount delayed. A sale to the streaming giant ensued, and now, the embargo has lifted. Powered by a dynamic comedic duo of Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, The Lovebirds is always an enjoyable watch, even when the plot gets a little bit ridiculous.

The film is an action comedy, centering on a couple’s wild night. Jibran (Nanjiani) and Leilani (Rae) are an always arguing couple. A documentary filmmaker and an advertising executive, they’ve gotten to the point where they plan to break up. En route to a party, they’re unintentionally embroiled in a murder, thinking that a cop (Paul Sparks) is commandeering their car to pursue a suspect. Left with a body, they’re spotted and run, terrified of being arrested for the crime. Thinking their only shot is to get to the bottom of who the murdered man is and why he was killed, they set off on an all night adventure to clear their names. Action, hilarity, and an actually rock solid dissection of a relationship ensue, including shady characters, as well as a debate over gang bangs vs orgies, which winds up central to the third act of the plot. Go figure. Michael Showalter directs a screenplay by Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall, and Martin Gero. Cinematography here is by Brian Burgoyne, while the score is from Michael Andrews. Supporting players include Kyle Bornheimer, Anna Camp, Mahdi Cocci, Kelly Murtagh, Andrene Ward-Hammond, and more.

Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae are fantastic together. Their bickering pair are a consistent source of comedic jabs. The best parts of this movie center just on them going at it with each other. Nanjiani’s monologues and Rae’s insults are incredibly funny. They’re one of the best comedy duos of the year so far. That’s where the flick shines, too. The mystery element here is somewhat simple here, though the way it dovetails in the third act is rather enjoyable. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary is being put forth here. Instead, we’re getting a really good version of fairly standard Hollywood fare.

The Lovebirds can’t reach the heights that Nanjiani reached with director Michael Showalter in The Big Sick, but this is a different beast altogether. This is intentionally dumber and more of a straight comedy, with action vibes. To be fair, the script by Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall, and Martin Gero just doesn’t stack up to the one Nanjiani penned with wife Emily V. Gordon. Abrams, Gall, and Gero put forth solid work, but Gordon and Nanjiani were rightly nominated for an Academy Award. One was Oscar fare, while the other isn’t (and isn’t trying to be). Just keep that in mind here.

On Friday, a really fun new comedy hits Netflix in The Lovebirds. Fans of Nanjiani and Rae will surely delight in their performances here, with each of them bringing out the best in each other. As long as you don’t go in expecting some kind of reinvention of the genre, you’ll get something enjoyable and easy to watch. At a time where audiences are starved for high profile new content, the streaming giant has a top notch offering coming in just a few days. Give this one a look and you’ll almost certainly get a ton of laughs out of it…


Be sure to check out The Lovebirds, streaming on Netflix this weekend!

(Photos courtesy of Netflix)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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