Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) and Lelani (Issa Rae) are in love. They can’t wait to kiss each other’s face, fight over Amazing Race, know all the same songs and genuinely enjoy each other. Their bond is one any couple would be elated to brag about to their friends. But, when one stays on the page of a book while the other’s reading a whole magazine, their love story goes awry. While they are fighting and reasoning their way through uncharted waters, a body hits the windshield and now they are accused murders. Is their break-up permanent or will they realize they still love each other.
With the beginning beats feeling very Queen & Slim-ish, The Lovebirds works simply due to the chemistry of Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae. In the heat of running for their lives, with lines referring to “…a person of color going to the police to turn themselves in…how do you think that’s gonna go”, unicorn outfits, a creepily, classy Clockwork Orange-ish mask soiree and an out-of-control Lyft Share with a couple that’s doing waaaayyyy to much, their race against time chase easily makes them ponder how much would you trust someone you just broke up with to save your life?
With Michael Showalter attached as director, Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, my hopes were high that this would be a romcom summer quarantine blockbuster. However, besides a few hilarious moments like the milkshake monologues and the Godfather-ish frat house slap fest, The Lovebirds premise is mostly predictable with a nice soundtrack. The good news is that we no longer live in a cinematic world where seeing an interracial couple makeup is no longer a shock like it was when Denzel Washington hit theaters with Mississippi Masala.
Being very familiar with the writing styles of both Nanjani and Rae, one senses the script is very accentuated with their comedic sensibility and I’m okay with that because they are undeniably hilarious. One more thing, their chemistry is nice, modernized throwback to the likes of Spencer and Tracy, Blondie and Dagwood and all those screwball rom-coms from the Golden-age of Hollywood. Despite it all, it’s a nice, quaint film to spend 90 minutes with. Let the streaming begin as The Lovebirds hits Netflix this weekend.