Bros Movie Review
Bros is the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio, with an openly LGBTQ principal cast. But it also arrived under a cloud of discontent. As a result, it was picked apart in countless thinkpieces. While Bros may have had some good intentions, it just wasn’t enough to make the cut.
In its trailer, Bros is billed as a “progressive landmark.” The movie is directed by Nicholas Stoller and co-written by Billy Eichner and Stoller. The pair, along with Judd Apatow (Trainwreck, Bridesmaids) are clearly trying to break new ground in the realm of romcoms.
The film is based on a screenplay Stoller and Eichner wrote together, and features an all-LGBT+ cast including Oscar winner Jim Rash, Debra Messing, Kristin Chenoweth, SNL’s Bowen Yang, and RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Symone. It’s also a first for a studio to release a gay romcom nationwide, giving viewers in places like London and Australia an opportunity to see this film.
It’s a cynical take on the rom-com genre, but not without its charms. It’s a film that aims to be a progressive landmark of the genre, one that both celebrates queer relationships and reminds audiences of great strides in queer history.
As the film opens, Bobby (Eichner) is a podcaster who’s planning to launch a national LGBTQ history museum. While he loves to talk about queer politics, he’s also a socially awkward outsider who’s constantly fighting stereotypes and his own fear of commitment. His snide, judgmental approach to his love life is a glaring problem that prevents Bobby and Aaron’s relationship from ever resolving.
The film plays with that tension in a few interesting ways, but it also doesn’t quite get out of the way and let the two characters find their own paths through romance. While it might seem a little lazy, the way in which the movie handles these moments is actually quite effective.
There are some really funny lines, too. Those who are familiar with the world of Grindr and other online dating apps might not be able to help but laugh at Bobby and Aaron’s awkward attempts to flirt in the name of “chill.”
It’s a very mainstream film that takes place entirely in New York, but that doesn’t stop it from taking aim at rom-com tropes and tired stereotyping around queer identity. It feels too self-conscious to fully break with the formula, but it’s a very lovable homage to old-school rom-coms and the idea that love isn’t always easy.
While it’s not perfect, Bros is a surprisingly smart and witty film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are jokes about how gay men tend to be more reliant on their friends than straight people. The conversations around the museum amusingly tease out tensions between factions within the LGBT community, and even some straight characters get in on the action.
The best thing about Bros is how it reaches across generations, gender, and racial barriers to make an inclusive story. It’s not the only film to tackle these issues, but it’s probably the most accessible and relatable.