Thursday, May 28, 2020

Netflix: Review of THE LOVEBIRDS: A Comical Couple in Crime

May 26, 2020

Jibran and Leilani are now four years into their relationship. However, they have hit a serious snag lately and had been arguing a lot. While driving to a party one might, they bickered to a point when decided to just call the whole thing off. Unfortunately at that very moment, Jibran ran a red light and bumped a cyclist. This accident would then get them caught up in a series of murders which involved a man with a mustache, drugged-out frat boys and a high-class masked sex cult.

That plot sounds dire and dangerous, but it really was also over-the-top and crazy. The whole story all happened in the duration of one night. While the caper was going on, we know very little about all the bad guys our two protagonists encountered, how they were connected to one another, or why they were after each other. However, with Kumail Nanjani and Issa Rae playing Jibran and Leilani, this dark crime story actually became a fun, enjoyable and entertaining action-romance-comedy. 

I may have seen his face in various ensemble roles in the past, but I only knew of Kumail Nanjani by his name in last year's "Stuber" and he was really funny there with Dave Bautista. He brings more of the same bumbling, nervous, cowardly vibe here as Jibran as well. This Pakistani-American actor-comedian actually hit it big in 2017 when he co-wrote and starred in an indie film about himself and his wife entitled "The Big Sick," which one of AFI's best films that year and was even nominated for an Oscar for Original Screenplay. 

Issa Rae is a new name and a new face for me. Her entertainment career began on YouTube with her "Awkward Black Girl" series in 2011. She later developed a pilot on a TV series also about experiences of African-American women in current society entitled "Insecure" which was picked up and released on HBO in 2016. She had been nominated for both Golden Globes and Primetime Emmy Awards for her lead performance. Her Leilani was may be smart and sassy, yet Rae certainly gave her a cute, lovable side as well 

The combination of murder mayhem and comic madness is not really new, like the excellent "Date Night" (with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey) or middling "Murder Mystery" (with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston). In movies like this, the more absurd the crime caper, the richer the comedy gets. In "The Lovebirds," the plot itself may have been uneven and clunky, but it was the novel combination of Nanjani and Rae that made it work. 6/10. 

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