IN REVIEW: ‘The Love Birds’ short on plot long on chemistry

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courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Netflix

Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae star in 'The Lovebirds'

Michael Cuviello, Editor, in chief

 

“The Love Birds is the new film from the director of the critically acclaimed “The Big Sick,” Michael Showalter“The Love Birds” was supposed to be released in theaters nationwide in March but due to COVID-19, it is currently streaming on Netflix. 

This romantic comedy has a cliché driven plot that is saved by its two stars. The second film of Showalter’s career reunites the lead from “The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani, who is best known for his starring role in the ensemble cast of HBO’s “ Silicon Valley.” Nanijiani’s co-star in the film  is Issa Rae best known for her role in HBO’s “Insecure now on its fourth season. 

plot centering on the crumbling relationship between Jibran, played by Nanijiani, and Leilani played by Rae. During their breakup, they become witnesses to a murder and assume they will be the prime suspects since both are sighted at the scene of the crime. Being people of color, they feel that their story will not be believed by the police and seek to clear their names. 

While the plot is relatively standard and has been beaten to death, the two leads elevate this film with their comic timing of playing off each other’s character. The chemistry between the actors comes off as if they are a believable real-life couple.

One of the best scenes in the film is the scene where they are about to be tortured to find out what information they have. The interaction between both leads is comical and they work well off each other’s quips. 

Another scene that works very well is when they think a cop has spotted them as suspects and are relieved that the police officer is just racially profiling them as he stares. 

Classic cinema is loaded with examples of great back and forth between couples in peril, such as Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone” and Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark.”  

In many ways, this couple is very reminiscent of many of these earlier portrayals. One aspect that stands out from many of those previous couples is this team is very balanced in decisionmaking rather than the male always making the decisions. The best aspect of the film is how it shows that even though two people in a relationship can genuinely care about each other, there can be aspects of their lives that create a divide that can be difficult to overcome.  

The opening is sweet and realistic as a setup to the peril they will find themselves in. Much of the plot will be just going to this point to find this out but the leads make the somewhat predictable ride fun. 

So, while no heavy lifting is involved in any semblance of an original plot, I did find the leads made this an enjoyable film worth watching. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Michael Cuviello may be reached at p[email protected]