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This is the most underrated movie on Netflix

Watch a couple solve a bizarre murder mystery conspiracy that brings them closer together.

Published onFebruary 15, 2024

The couple that flees shady secret societies together, stays together. There’s nothing like a little murder conspiracy to bring people closer — if The Lovebirds will teach you anything, it’s that.

I’ve watched and re-watched The Lovebirds an embarrassing number of times. I mean, there are other — far more popular — movies out there. But under our very noses, overshadowed by bigger commercial hits, sits a comedic gem. The Lovebirds is an underrated movie on Netflix you’re not going to want to miss, and I’m here to tell you why.

What makes The Lovebirds special

The Lovebirds follows a couple — Jibran and Leilani. They have a whirlwind romance that quickly turns into a monotonous relationship they cannot wait to get out of. They’re on the verge of breaking up due to constant bickering.

While driving to a dinner party, they get into an argument and mutually decide to end their relationship. However, they soon get caught up in a bizarre murder mystery when they accidentally hit a man on a bike with their car.

This leads to a series of escalating events as Jibran and Leilani go on the run to try to clear their names. They end up uncovering an underground secret society and quickly realize they’ve become entangled with something much bigger than themselves.

The thing about The Lovebirds is when you think things can't get more absurd for the couple, they do.

The movie is fast-paced thanks to the snappy banter and a steady stream of villains who try but fail royally at being scary.

Jibran (played by Kumail Nanjiani) and Leilani (played by Issa Rae) have a magical chemistry that lights up every scene. Their tensions bubble over into bouncing comedic energy. As a couple pushed to their limits, Nanjiani and Rae register genuine exasperation, hurt, and confusion. Yet the affection underneath comes through as well, giving the film heart.

We believe in them both as a warring couple and a reluctant team when thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Each performer plays to their strengths, with Nanjiani bringing manic physicality and incisive sarcasm, while Rae exhibits hilarious confidence. Together, they make a mismatched pair worth rooting for despite the chaos. This is a classic screwball comedy pairing done right.

There’s a little will they/won’t they here as well: is their quest for the truth also the path to falling back in love again?

Coming to the quality of comedy, The Lovebirds does it just right, not too subtle, but not too over-the-top like an Adam Sandler movie.

If you’re not familiar with Kumail Nanjiani (the actor who plays Jibran) but you’re a comedy enthusiast — you’re missing out. Anything with him in it is guaranteed to be full of laughs. If his name sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve seen him in The Big Sick or Eternals. The Big Sick, I’d like to remind you, is a movie about a woman who’s mysteriously ill, but Nanjiani still is a comforting presence in the movie, as the funny, concerned boyfriend. The Eternals, on the other hand, is one of the more serious Marvel movies, but he persists as a consistent bag of laughs nevertheless. The man could make a documentary on financial irregularities entertaining.

As soon as Nanjiani’s character Jibran appears on screen, you know you’re in for nonstop laughs. He delivers even the most absurd lines with such infectious conviction and perfect comedic timing. His physical comedy and facial expressions are priceless!

So while the convoluted conspiracy in The Lovebirds may fade from memory (not likely), Kumail Nanjiani’s riotous performance will stay seared in my brain. His scrambling panic coupled with smug sarcasm becomes downright hypnotic.

I could watch his manic energy, facial gymnastics, and way with a wicked punchline for hours on a loop. Forget all the action and just give me more Nanjiani! He elevates what could have been just another forgettable Netflix rom-com into an unforgettable comedic gem. More, please!

While Nanjiani and Rae shine brightest, the rest of the cast adds to the zany fun. From a terrifying Paul Sparks as the sinister killer Mustache to Anna Camp’s over-the-top unhinged villainess, the secondary characters enhance the comedic thrills. Anna Camp has always done a great job with roles that require her to be a poised, blond beauty who’s surprisingly petty and competitive. Remember her in Pitch Perfect?

Kyle Bornheimer gets big laughs with his oblivious impression as Edie’s alarmingly relaxed husband Brett. He’s great at playing this particular character, as we’ve seen in Brooklyn Nine-Nine when he plays Amy’s boyfriend.

Real-life Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan even gets in a cameo.

Everyone brings their A-game to up the absurdist humor, reveling together in the film’s tongue-in-cheek tone. A personal highlight is when Moses Storm appears as Steve, who captures both the swagger and ineptitude of a hacker-for-hire. The richness of inventive characters adds to the controlled chaos.

The only question is….why is there no sequel? Can’t you just see Nanjiani and Rae quipping in their New Orleans apartment before stumbling into a new crazy mystery every week? Not giving us that is daylight comedy robbery. Perhaps a whole Extended Lovebirds Cinematic Universe isn’t realistic, but six more films should do the trick.

Other recommended underrated movies on Netflix

While I believe The Lovebirds deserves more attention as one of Netflix’s most underrated titles, I know its approach may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Here are a few quality alternatives worth watching from different genres. You could also use a list of secret Netflix codes to find your favorite genre.

  • Vampires vs. The Bronx: Finally, strategic vampires who care about systemic takeovers and real estate. Are vampires buying property to take over the human world? Watch as three friends fight for their neighborhood, no matter how clumsily.
  • His House: Bol and Rial are refugees from South Sudan, finally sheltered and safe in the UK. Things seem to be picking up for them until strange events start taking place in their new house, signaling their past may have just followed them.
  • The Call: A terrifying watch, one that starts as a semi-fun gambit between two women (one in 1999 and the other in 2019), who find they can connect via a cordless phone. They realize they can change reality with the intel they give each other. Neat, right? If only one of them weren’t a serial killer….
  • The Perfection: This one’s a little messed up. You may want to give this one a miss if you don’t have a strong stomach. Lizzie leads a seemingly normal life in music school, but it all goes downhill when she meets Charlotte. Angry about the turn of events, Lizzie confronts Charlotte, starts asking questions, and discovers that her fancy life in music school may not be what it seems.
  • I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore: Melanie Lynskey stars in this quirky crime comedy playing a nursing assistant who goes vigilante when her home is broken into. The police won’t help, so she enlists the help of her neighbor, Tony, to track her belongings and find the culprit. Should she just have left this crime alone?
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