The marketing campaign for Bros was based around its groundbreaking elements, reminding viewers that the LGBTQ+ cast on screen were out and proud and that everyone involved was working on telling an honest romance from the queer perspective. It’s also, reportedly, the first widely released rom-com of its ilk. That’s great and I’m elated for the production but, at the end of the day, what’s the word on the movie itself?
Is Bros funny? Is this a proper return for director Nicholas Stoller? Stoller has a good track record, but hasn’t directed a film since 2016’s annoying kids flick Storks. Is Bros the type of breakout for star/co-writer Billy Eichner that belongs in the same crowd as Trainwreck and The King of Staten Island? These titles are co-produced by Judd Apatow, so perhaps. Thankfully, the answer to these questions is “yes”, because Bros is an absolute winner.
Eichner plays Bobby, an outspoken podcaster who decides to curate a museum exhibit dedicated to educating patrons on LGBTQ+ history. But despite his good-natured presence, Bobby is romantically jaded and fairly pessimistic. His attitude nearly makes him miss his “meet cute” with athletic partygoer Aaron (Luke Macfarlane). Their relationship, which gradually becomes more intimate, allows Bobby to be more vulnerable and Aaron to realize more about himself. The developmental arcs of Bobby’s career goals and Aaron’s personal growth progress on their own, but Bros is more interested in projecting the romantic qualities of Bobby and Aaron’s bond.
Eichner (in his first leading role) effortlessly carries the movie, and Stoller comfortably eases back into his natural element of making layered romantic dramedies in the same style as his crowd-pleasers Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Five-Year Engagement. But, the screenplay (written by Eichner and Stoller) is what really makes Bros stand out. When paired with Eichner’s unapologetically opinionated and observant demeanour as Bobby, the actor replicates the style of Woody Allen. While the comparison may not seem very complimentary, it excited me nonetheless. Allen’s latest flick Rifkin’s Festival was a creaky failure and showed that this brand of pithy writing may be showing its age. However, Eichner revitalizes these comedic stylings, and uses this repertoire to say something profoundly observant while making us laugh out loud. What also helps boost the emotion behind Bros is Eichner’s presumed catharsis that drives monologues and confessions about being confident and honest.
Bros serves as a beneficial movie for those who have been waiting for a film to be their voice, as well as general movie goers who are looking for a good laugh or a unique spin on the otherwise conventional rom-com model.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie
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