Over the past few years there has been a ton of conversation surrounding inclusion and representation in the media. To the joy of fans, there’s been a number of mainstream projects centered around queer stories as of late: Happiest Season and Fire Island on Hulu, as well as the horror movie They/Them on Peacock. This trend is continuing with the new R-rated comedy Bros, which is getting a wide theatrical release at the end of September. And Billy Eichenr’s Bros makes history as a LGBTQ+ romantic comedy, while also hilariously taking the piss out of the gay community as a whole.
Anticipation for Bros has been steadily building since the project filmed last summer, thanks to the outstanding cast of LBGTQ+ talent that was assembled to bring the story to life. Countless headlines followed the “all queer” cast of the new romantic comedy, but that doesn’t mean that the community makes it out of the project without taking their licks. And this happens while the movie hits those rom-com beats we know and love. I had the privilege of seeing the movie’s premiere of Bros at the Toronto International Film Festival, in an audience howling with laughter throughout.
Bros follows a jaded protagonist Bobby, played by Billy Eichner himself, who has never had a serious relationship in his life. In addition, Eichner also served as executive producer and wrote the movie’s screenplay. The latter perhaps needs the biggest round of applause, as the dialogue is full of hit signature wit, buoying the movie’s 115 minute runtime with a steady stream of laughs-- many of which are actually taking aim at the LGTBQ+ community. Case in point: one particular runner about his friends who recently became a throuple, and the bonkers concept of a gender reveal orgy.
The screenplay of Bros is self-referential in some ways, as Billy Eichner’s character Bobby is constantly going on a diatribe about how queer stories have been edited out of the history books and media alike for years. But as he also mentions in his opening monologue, not all LGBTQ+ people are built the same, or necessarily decent people at all. He takes umbrage with the old adage “love is love” as it oversimplifies the queer experience. As he says “not all gay people are nice.”
Throughout Bros’ runtime, Billy Eichner and company take aim at various queer celebs that have been making headlines. Zingers fly at the likes of controversial figures like Colton Underwood and Caitlyn Jenner, as well as the culture surrounding gay dating aps like Grindr. While there is obviously a sweet love story at the center of the project, the scenes of the protagonist's interactions on hookup apps can’t be any less romantic. It’s in that accuracy that movie succeeds in not over romanticizing the reality of being a queer person in the dating world.
There’s also some A+ pop culture references throughout the movie’s runtime. Beloved sitcom Schitt’s Creek took a few licks in the process, while the characters also universally agree that the show was great. Billy Eichner also hilariously includes jokes aimed at Dear Evan Hansen, Glee, and Will and Grace– with Debra Messing even playing herself in a small but hilarious role.
While Bros is very much a romantic comedy, there are also some emotional dramatic scenes that also really succeed. During a trip to gay mecca Provincetown, Bobby has a stirring monologue describing what it was like growing up as a LGBTQ+ person, and being told that his inherent queerness would stand in his way of various career paths. While discussing how much progress has happened throughout his lifetime, Eichner’s character laments about the timing based on his age, saying “the world didn’t catch up enough” for his late parents to see his success before passing.
But aside from the groundbreaking nature of the movie’s cast and storyline, Bros also follows romantic comedy tropes in a way that’s satisfying and accessible for all audiences. This includes a surprise musical number, as well as a sweet ending that feels akin to all the rom-coms we know and love. And with Eichner’s screenplay also paying tribute to queer icons from history, the past and present mix and really show how far we come… and how much progress is still needed.
Bros will arrive in theaters September 30th. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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