Movie #180 2020: The Lovebirds (2020)

Isn’t it insane that no matter what the movie, we’re suddenly getting excited about every single one we can claw our way over to? What with one thing and another, we are so deprived of big cinematic blockbusters, that we’ve turned to Netflix’s new releases to help up drag ourselves through our time indoors.

Last week, Netflix released The Lovebirds; a romantic black comedy, if you will, which was due to premiere at South by Southwest this year before everything got cancelled. From The Big Sick director Michael Showalter comes this story of a couple who are arguing in their car when they suddenly decide to break up. Amidst their argument however, they hit a cyclist, and things escalate rapidly in ways you’d never expect.

Sadly, this movie is the definition of ‘a swing and a miss’. Perhaps I expected more due to all of the hype I’ve heard surrounding The Big Sick, but gosh this was disappointing.

I only laughed a few times throughout this movie even though it claims to be a comedy. Issa Rae was fantastic and I love Kumail Nanjiani (although this was by no means his best performance), but it was kind of asking a lot of them to carry the entire film with basically no secondary characters. It’s clear that both leads here are at the top of their stand-up game, so what went wrong? I can only assume that it’s all the fault of poor writing.

Although The Lovebirds gives off real Game Night vibes with its absurdity and the whole ‘comedic situations in grave danger’ hootenanny, it doesn’t reach any of the same heights. Whilst you are hard pushed to not continuously laugh watching the unexpectedly perfect 2018 riot, Lovebirds is the definition of disappointment. Its events are clearly inspired by Game Night, but somehow they are not as masterfully performed, not as interesting to watch, and are simply constructed into one big mess rather than into a cohesive, organised story board.

In that regard, I do understand what they were trying to do. It’s clear that the events that occur are so random to show the spontaneity of the leads and to create a sense of havoc. However, this isn’t utilised well enough to ensure that attention is kept and the plot is therefore all over the place.

It’s just okay, for want of a better word. A few of the one liners and interactions between the two protagonists were truly funny, but that is solely down to the talents of Rae and Nanjiani; I dread to think how bad the film would have been without them. And for what it’s worth, it’s truly refreshing to see an interracial couple that doesn’t involve a white person on screen. More of that please, Hollywood.

There’s one running – and unexpected – theme throughout this that seems to be the only attempt to glue the whole thing together. That theme? The Amazing Race. No, I didn’t mis-type that. I won’t go into spoilers, but the characters continually speak about how successful or unsuccessful they’d be as a team on that little TV show where they compete to race around the world, and the ending ties this whole ”meh” up well thanks to that. The Amazing Race becoming the glue to hold all of these fragile sequences together? Who’d have thunk it?

It’s clear here that they were going for The Big Sick type of success, so Nanjiani should have been on the writing team because these writers are… not great. As I’ve mentioned.

Anyway, I’ll stop with the negativity there. Sure, go watch it. But don’t expect too much.

The Lovebirds is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: 


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