Meet Jibran and Lailani, smitten with each other and flashing that “I want to kiss you” face at every turn. Now fast-forward five years. The magic is gone, they are at each others’ throats, and just moments after they realize they have inadvertently broken up, the movie begins in earnest. A random event embroils them in a one-night attempt to clear their names of a crime they did not commit.
This brief synopsis serves as a metaphor for my experience viewing this film, having so looked forward to it based on a very funny trailer. And then the movie let me down somewhat. The best laugh lines and sight gags were compiled in the preview. A couple of our favorites were dropped from the final cut and were not replaced by other lines. We found ourselves saying, “What about when he says…?”
So, that’s disappointing, but the movie is still a fun ride mostly because of the onscreen chemistry between Kumail Nanjiani as Jibran and Issa Rae as Lailani. They are a comic odd couple, a wonderfully diverse pairing by two actors both of whom currently have boiling hot careers. Rae is fresh off of The Photograph earlier this year, and Nanjiani is capitalizing on his trademark subtle Pakistani accent with the hilariously understated teddy bear delivery we loved in Stuber and The Big Sick. Rae served as Executive Producer of this film.
If looking for a reason for this film’s shortfall it might be best to blame the writing. Or perhaps the role shifting of actors, writers and producers resulted in deficits. It certainly wasn’t the fault of the two stars that mostly carried the film. The idea is sort of a rehash of 1985’s After Hours but lacks the Directorial prowess of Martin Scorsese. Perhaps Nanjiani should have been tapped for the writing assist he has provided in previous projects.
If you haven’t seen the trailer, see the film. If you have, adjust your expectations accordingly.
The Lovebirds (2020) runs 1 hour, 28 minutes and is rated R.
Should I see this movie?