Film Review: “Bros”


Screengrab from: "Bros"

“Bros” released on September 30th and was directed by Nicholas Stoller. The film stars Billy Eichner (left) and Luke Macfarlane (right).

Cassandra Bauer, Film Reviewer

Fans of the absurd comedy and pop culture game show “Billy on the Street” will recognize Billy Eichner as the star and co-writer of Universal’s latest feature film “Bros”, which has been deemed as the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio.

Eichner plays Bobby, a cynical podcasting 40-year-old, who refuses to find love, convinced that Grindr hookups and a tight knit group of friends can add up to meaningful relationships. Bobby is focusing all his efforts on opening the first LGBTQ history museum in New York when someone new steps into his life. While at a party, Bobby, in classic rom com fashion, locks eyes with someone across the room and a connection is formed. The love interest Aaron is played by beloved Hallmark actor Luke Macfarlane who is known for his countless holiday films.  

Both leads have commitment issues, but agree to be emotionally unavailable together. What follows is the all too familiar beats of a rom com. Meet cutes, awkward interactions, temporary separations, and confessions of love. Filled with references and celebrity cameos (notably Debra Messing from “Will and Grace”), and so many laugh out loud moments, the film is every bit of the movie theater experience I was hoping for.

Reminiscent of the classic Nora Ephron rom coms like “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail”, “Bros” embraces many of the quintessential elements we have come to love within the genre. We see our central couple taking casual strolls on the streets of New York, lounging in Central Park, and laughing at the beach. On top of the cozy romantic vibes, it is packed with comedy. It has been a long while since we have seen something this funny grace the big screen.

Just when we were ready to declare the studio comedy dead, writer-director Nicholas Stoller (”Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, “Neighbors”) delivers a laugh-out-load raunchy rom com that has surely become an instant classic. The temporary lull of comedies to hit theaters is no doubt in part due to the effects COVID-19 has had on the film industry, but in reality these films were on the decline before that.

“Bros” features more prominence on the unique aspects of gay dating and the film is very open about how relationships between two men differ from relationships between a man and a woman. (Screengrab from: “Bros”)

If anyone has the power to bring back the studio comedy, it is the producer of this film, Judd Apatow, who has brought us such classics as “Trainwreck”, “Bridesmaids”, “The 40-year-old Virgin”, and “Step Brothers”. Apatow has a knack for building a film around a comedian, examples being Amy Schumer in “Trainwreck” and Steve Carell in “The 40-year-old Virgin”. Once again, Apatow has achieved this by building a brilliant comedy around Billy Eichner, who also co-wrote the screenplay injecting the film with his own personality.

Since Eichner, an openly gay man, was a writer on the film, he was able to provide specifically queer humor that we have not yet seen on this scale. We, as the audience, are able to see the more unique aspects of gay dating, and the film is very open about how relationships between two men differ from relationships between a man and a woman. The entire cast is comprised of queer actors, even the straight characters, which gives all of the humor a level of authenticity knowing it is coming from the right place.

Having a mainstream, studio backed, gay romantic comedy is so important for LGBTQ representation, and “Bros” is certain to pave the way for many more queer stories in the future.