This format is a shorter, more to the point, off-shot of the normal review/op-eds I normally do. A ranking will be given at the end from a scale that starts at (from the lowest to the highest): Bad – meh – fine – good – great. Anything not appropriate for these “scores” will likely warrant a more in-depth discussion, which is what I normally do, so this range does not cover all movies, just the ones that I think are suited to this format.
Romantic-comedies are not really my thing; I don’t actively seek them out and they are pretty much my last option when heading to a cinema. Having said that, I don’t actively dislike them either, so when The Lovebirds popped up on my Netflix homepage and saw Kumail Nanjiani (whom I love) I decided to give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised by the experience.
The Lovebirds is not a fantastic movie that demands to be seen, but instead a 90s era rom-com starring two modern comedians, with modern sensibilities and updates to the formula. It’s funny, witty, and has a leading duo with great chemistry between them, and that’s all I want from a rom-com. There are some pretty clear issues with the movie, but I want to focus more on what works: Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani work excellently together. They work well off each other, as a couple that has begun to have issues in their relationship, as “opposing” characters, and individually, they bring their own style and improvisation skills. I like the fact that this movie feels like it was mostly improvised on the spot, where the actors knew what they had to do in the scene, but what they said and how they each react feels improvised, which works really well because of their chemistry and how in-sync with each other they feel.
That is also the biggest issue of the movie: The story, or rather the lack there of. It feels like a sequence of things that happen, rather than an actual story, and this is especially noticeable in scenes where action is the main focus or character development takes over. As far as the characters are concerned, I like the work and writing of them – probably because of the two leading actors – but as far as the action sequences, and plot development I’m less satisfied with; I wouldn’t say I was bored by them, more like waiting for them to finish for the actually fun parts of the movie to continue.
If a mostly comedic movie about a couple that witnesses a murder and has to go on the run sounds like fun to you, then The Lovebirds will be a good experience for that. It’s disposable, but in a good way; you watch the movie, you don’t feel like you are watching something stupid or awkwardly stare at the screen as people try to make you laugh, but failing to do so. It doesn’t reach the heights of director Showalter’s and Nanjiani’s The Big Sick, but, in all honesty, Netflix’s comedy options and productions have been abysmal for the most part and having something that’s simply good, that you can watch, laugh, and then move on, feels remarkably fresh for the platform.