Ah, there’s nothing quite like murder to bring an on-the-outs couple back together.
No, really. Just picture it: A police officer demands to use your vehicle to chase down a suspect. He then runs over said “suspect” multiple times. You realize he’s not a cop. You get framed for the murder. And now, you’re on the run.
You pretty much only have two choices. You can either hand yourselves over to the police and hope they don’t charge you with anything (even though it was your car and there are eyewitnesses who saw you fleeing the scene), or you can try to solve the murder yourselves.
The latter choice is exactly what Leilani and Jibran do. They may not agree on everything, but they do agree that neither of them wants to spend the rest of their lives in prison.
While having your life threatened isn’t normally conducive to couples’ therapy, it actually helps Leilani and Jibran realize what really matters to them. For the first time since the beginning of their relationship four years before, they are able to open up to each other about their feelings. They get real about the things that bother them but also the things they love about each other. And the whole life-or-death situation really causes them to bond even more.
A cult leader talks about sacrificing two people as a burnt offering to “the gods.”
Members of a cult strip and start an orgy. (We see buttocks, lots of skin and movements, and a woman’s breasts are briefly seen in the blurred background.) Leilani and Jibran find pictures of people having sex (a quick flash shows naked bodies, though nothing critical is seen). It is implied that Leilani and Jibran had a one-night stand before deciding to become a couple.
Leilani changes her clothes several times throughout the movie and we see her in her bra each time. At one point, she helps Jibran remove his shirt after he injures himself and they nearly kiss. Some women wear outfits showing cleavage. A woman pulls a piece of paper from her bra. A man says he is “turned on” when a woman bends over.
Leilani and Jibran kiss twice. (There is also a picture of them kissing in their home.) Couples touch each other flirtatiously. People dance in a bar. A couple hugs and holds hands for comfort.
People go into some detail about different types of sex (including the difference between a “gang bang” and an “orgy”). People mention nude photos. A woman calls scars “sexy.”
A man on a bicycle gets hit by a car. Although he is bleeding, he says he is fine and rides off again. He is later hit by a car again (we see his body fly over the roof) and purposely run over multiple times to ensure his death (we briefly see his splayed body on the ground).
A woman shoots a man, and he falls into water. When he later jumps out of the water, he is knocked back into it with a life preserver, and we later see him being loaded into an ambulance on a gurney.
Men get into fist fights twice. One guy bites his assailant to keep from being choked. Another man threatens to break his opponent’s neck when he is threatened with a gun by a third party. We see several men getting beat up in the background of a scene before they are shot by their attacker. Another man is shot when he tries to run for help.
Jibran is kicked in the chest by a horse. Leilani and Jibran are knocked out and tied to chairs. A woman threatens to pour hot grease on their faces (and she goes as far as pushing Leilani to the floor for better access) before Leilani is able to kick the grease pan out of the woman’s hands onto the face of the woman’s husband. Leilani grabs a rake and briefly spars with the woman holding the pan before Jibran hits her in the leg with a fire extinguisher.
A car nearly wrecks and almost hits people several times while chasing someone. A woman slaps a man multiple times while trying to get information out of him.
The f-word is heard about 70 times (three times preceded by “mother” and once in the lyrics of a background song). We also hear it bleeped out on a TV reality show. The s-word is heard 40 or so times. We hear three uses each of “a–hole” and “b–ch,” two uses each of “a–” and “p-ss” and one use of “d–n.” God’s name is misused roughly 30 times (once paired with the expletive “d–n”), and Jesus’ name is misused once.
People drink at parties and bars. A couple takes turns drinking liquor from a bottle hidden in a paper bag. People order alcohol at a diner where alcohol isn’t served. Leilani and Jibran rideshare with a drunk couple. Someone accuses several frat boys of running a “roofie lab.” A woman confesses to selling edible marijuana.
Leilani and Jibran argue throughout the movie about not being on the same page. As their arguments unfold, we learn that Leilani lied about thinking marriage was “lame” and that she just doesn’t want to marry someone who is satisfied with being a failure. We also learn that Jibran thinks Leilani is too obsessed with her image and that he is jealous of her handsome coworker.
Leilani and Jibran justify their multiple illegal actions throughout the movie since they are trying to solve a crime. (They think it’s OK that they hit someone with their car since he turned out to be a bad guy. They break into someone’s home to search for clues. And they don’t call the police to report the crime because they are both minorities.)
A dirty cop admits to both protecting a cult from the police and blackmailing members for money. Members of that cult also chant creepily.
There are a few crude jokes about different races. Leilani calls someone “Date Rape McGee.” A woman says she looks like “unicorn throw up.” There is a joke about urination.
The Lovebirds is like The Amazing Race—but with dead people. And even though solving a crime probably isn’t the best way to fix your relationship, it somehow works.
Knowing that their lives could end at any second, Leilani and Jibran decide that they don’t want to leave anything unsaid. They lay it all on the table—the good and the bad—and what they discover is that deep down, they actually both feel pretty unworthy to be with the other. They may not agree on every single topic, but they respect each other’s opinions. And they really do love each other, or else they probably would’ve just struck a deal with the police and handed the other person over.
But that doesn’t change the fact that these lovebirds are incredibly crude. Between the cursing and their conversations about sex, things get pretty nasty—and that doesn’t even include the bloody parts.
If you were hoping for a lovey-dovey film about romance, this isn’t it. The body count in The Lovebirds is more along the lines of what you would expect from a blood-and-guts action thriller, not a romcom. And there’s just no good way to include a creepy, chanting sex cult in a movie.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.