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Compared to most of the films delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Showalter’s The Lovebirds is in a bit of a different spot. While movies like A Quiet Place: Part II, Mulan, and The New Mutants were indefinitely delayed and will have theatrical releases (presumably) later this year, the Kumail Nanjiani/Issa Rae comedy took a different tactic, and will be skipping theaters to be released streaming on Netflix at some point in the near future instead. That being said, this upcoming weekend was the weekend that it was supposed to come out, and now it’s not… so what should people watch instead?
In that regard, we have you covered. While you may not be able to see The Lovebirds in theaters starting Friday, there are a number of titles currently available online that will at the very least provide you a part of the experienced promised by the would-be release. So while we wait for the new movie to hit Netflix, check out some of these titles instead:
Raising Arizona (1987)
With its setup following a couple that winds up getting accidentally framed for a violent murder, The Lovebirds throws comedy, romance, and crime into a blender and hits a high setting – and one of the best films of all time in that regard is Joel and Ethan Coen’s Raising Arizona. The love between Nicolas Cage’s H.I. and Holly Hunter’s Ed is the beating heart of the story, but it’s also a ridiculous adventure that sees the couple steal a baby from a local wealthy family that just had quintuplets. Not only is it problematic that H.I. and Ed commit a felony, but the former has a recidivist nature, and doesn’t keep company with the greatest of people.
Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)
Putting Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man And The Wasp on this list may seem like a stretch, but it works in line with The Lovebirds when you really think about it. Much like the characters in the Kumail Nanjiani/Issa Rae comedy, the eponymous protagonists are a romantic pair who find themselves on the run from the law, and while evading being caught find their lives entangled with an assortment of odd characters. Plus, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film is also really one of the more underrated entries in the franchise, and worth reevaluation if you didn’t think much of it following its initial release.
It’s not always easy to find the great classic films online, as most streaming catalogues are geared towards releases post-1980, but Stanley Donen's Charade is currently available, and it’s a great thing because it’s a perfect watch in lieu of seeing The Lovebirds. The 1963 feature stars Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant as its leads, the former falling for the latter while away on vacation, and takes a turn for the mysterious when Hepburn's character returns home to discover that her husband has been murdered. It then pairs the two leads on crime solving adventure, coming together as a twisty and funny ride that will make you laugh and gasp.
The Big Sick (2017)
The Big Sick is a great and fitting alternative to The Lovebirds this weekend for two primary reasons: A) it’s the previous collaboration between Kumail Nanjiani and Michael Showalter (the first being Showalter’s 2015 movie Hello, My Name Is Doris – which is sadly not streaming), and B) it’s straight-up excellent. The movie, based on a script co-written by Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon, is a sweet and super funny film based on the true story of how the writers met and fell in love – which is a story that also happens to have the words “medically-induced coma” in it. It’s an awesome and disarming piece of work, featuring wonderful supporting performances from Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, and Zoe Kazan, and it’s even great to watch again for those who have already seen it.
Where To Stream: Amazon Prime
Where To Rent Online: N/A
Issa Rae has been an exciting “talent to watch” in recent years, as not only has her profile on the small screen gotten big, but she’s also starting to prove herself in the world of features. The Lovebirds is her second time playing a co-lead in a studio comedy, and while our experience seeing her in that project has been delayed, you can watch her first go now streaming online. Last year she had the fun of being in Tina Gordon’s Little – a fun addition to the body swap comedy subgenre co-starring Regina Hall and Marsai Martin.
Where To Stream: HBO Go
Where To Rent Online: N/A
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
The big hook of The Lovebirds’ funny premise is that the story is centering on a pair of complete innocents who find themselves wrapped up in something criminal, and George Armitage’s Grosse Pointe Blank makes for a good parallel picture for it, provided you focus more on the perspective of Minnie Driver’s character. She is under the impression that her old high school boyfriend (John Cusack) who disappeared on prom night is simply back for their 10 year reunion and to make amends – but what she isn’t aware of is the fact that her ex abandoned her at prom to go join the army and then started a career as a professional assassin. It’s an amazing movie, and, frankly, you really shouldn’t need the excuse of “Lovebirds was going to come out this weekend” to watch it.
Out Of Sight (1998)
Certainly one of the most anticipated aspects of The Lovebirds is the expected chemistry between Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, as they are two super funny people who should work really well together – and it’s in reflection of that that Steven Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight lands on this list. Based on the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name, this is another title that does an amazing job blending comedy, romance, and crime, and it’s also packed with an excellent cast including Ving Rhames, Albert Brooks, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, and more, but it’s really every moment between George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez that makes this movie something really special. It’s actually perhaps setting too high a bar for The Lovebirds to reach, but we can call it a best case scenario for the upcoming film if it can create that kind of energy..
Mr. And Mrs. Smith (2005)
If you think about it, Doug Liman’s Mr. And Mrs. Smith is kind of the inverse version of The Lovebirds, in that instead of being about an innocent normal couple that gets embroiled in crime, it’s about a couple of assassins who believe that the person they are married to is an innocent normal person. The 2005 feature is definitely a film subsists on the power of star power, specifically through leads Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but it also has a collection of cool, large budget action sequences to enjoy.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Balancing tones in a comedy/romance/crime film can be a tricky business, and while it looks like The Lovebirds will be aiming for “sweet,” Charles Crichton's A Fish Called Wanda exists on the more devious side of the scale. In this particular case the plot is centered on a group of conniving thieves trying to pull off a diamond heist, but doing so requires totally screwing each other over, and also ultimately corrupting an innocent man. Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin are utterly awesome together, and it’s a comedy that remains hilarious every time you watch it.
True Lies (1994)
If you get finished watching A Fish Called Wanda and decide you would like to watch another Lovebirds-esque title, and want to see more of Jamie Lee Curtis, then True Lies is definitely the title you should start streaming. In the James Cameron film, Curtis plays a woman who thinks that she is living a relatively boring life with a super boring husband (Arnold Schwarzenegger), but over the course of the film she discovers that he isn’t boring at all, and instead is a super spy regularly saving the world. It’s definitely a bit bigger scale-wise than the adventures we’ll see in The Lovebirds, but it’s still a fit, and also creates fantastic and unexpected big screen chemistry between its leads.
Where To Stream: HBO Go
Where To Rent Online: N/A
With The Lovebirds not in theaters, what are you watching this weekend? Are you intrigued by one of the entries on our list, or will you be hunting for something else? Answer our poll below, and hit the comments section with other options for movie-goers!