The new Netflix movie The Lovebirds is a romantic comedy that’s more comedic than romantic. But perhaps, that’s exactly what makes it so great and decidedly less cliche and more unique than its genre counterparts. Rather than sweeping gestures and dramatic declarations of love, the movie is constant jokes, chaotic situations, and witty banter.
The main characters Jibran and Leilani have a hilarious relationship. As a couple, they also feel deeply real and relatable because they aren’t always poised or perfect when around one another. They argue often and frequently about Leilani being on her phone too much or Jibran being overly critical of others. Even though they annoy one another with each other’s quirks at times, underneath it all, they love each other.
I love the focus on the small, everyday moments of relationships such as eating bacon next to each other at breakfast and arguing over which restaurant to go to or movie to watch. Jibran and Leilani’s eventual mutual obsession with The Amazing Race tv show also struck me as an endearing and strong detail. Those small things resonated because in my mind that is what relationships are all about, the day to day displays of love and companionship.
Starring Kumail Nanjiani (Jibran) and Issa Rae (Leilani), the story opens with a couple who have been together for four years breaking up due to perceived differences only to be forced to work together when they become entangled in a murder mystery. It’s a classic tale that could be an entire movie subgenre. The movie is also the perfect length to keep audiences engaged, with a runtime of only 87 minutes.
I liked this movie for its light-hearted nature and for the great dynamic between the main characters. Despite the murder subplot, the movie felt surprisingly cheerful. Jibran’s and Leilani’s nervous word-vomit whenever they encountered scary or awkward situations had me constantly cackling. I did have to suspend disbelief a little more so than I usually do for movies. For example, at one point, they accidentally hit a bicyclist with their car. However, rather than the bicyclist allowing them to call an ambulance, he just pops up and rides away. I didn’t mind these implausibilities overall because they kept me surprised so I never felt bored while watching.
Throughout The Lovebirds, Jibran and Leilani get themselves into some of the strangest situations that you couldn’t possibly expect. Their wild goose chase to solve the murder takes them to frat parties, black tie cult meetings with a secret society, police raids, and orgies. They are also faced with being kidnapped, police questioning, and multiple near-death experiences.
Throughout all this time they spend together, they remember the reasons why they love each other in the first place. Not to be too much of a spoiler, but the ending is pretty happy for both characters. Leilani and Jibran felt like real life relationship role models to me. By the end of the film, they realize that the little things they fought and broke up over are insignificant. Rather, what they feel toward each other and the fond memories they shared over the years together are what is more important and indicative. For an audience member, these realizations felt so refreshing and relatable. They were strong reminders to me that loving someone and being in a relationship isn’t always easy, but the work is worth it for the right person.
If you enjoy a slightly trash movie with high entertainment value, The Lovebirds is for you. The charming nature of the leads and the implausible drama of the plot are two of the main draws of the movie. The plot does veer slightly thin at times, but I didn’t find myself disappointed by that. It is exactly what you’d expect from a Netflix original, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. It’s funny, watchable and a great way to pass the time during pandemic times. If you want relief from the relentlessness of the pandemic news cycle this is the way to go. The movie felt like the perfect way to unwind and relax. It is the ideal feel-good, guilty pleasure movie.
This movie was the perfect distraction for me from the hardships of daily life. It gave me relief from feeling worried and stressed about the future for the duration of its watch time. And isn’t that the goal of any good movie?