There’s nothing quite like a good romantic comedy. This genre has been one enjoyed across generations, with quotable lines that end up piercing the pop culture lexicon forever. Many of the greatest rom-coms from the last decade and change have come from producer Judd Apatow – from Knocked Up to Bridesmaids. And his latest R-rated entry into the genre comes in the form of director Nicholas Stoller’s Bros, starring Billy Eichner and Hallmark leading man Luke Macfarlane.
Bros focuses on Eichner’s protagonist Bobby Lieber, who is a successful podcaster living in New York City. Despite his professional and interpersonal fulfillment, he's never had a significant relationship, and we learn the various reasons behind this include his childhood, body image issues, and the overall difficulty of trying to date in the age of hook-up apps like Grindr.
But when Bobby meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) at a club, they have a surprising, instant connection. The story of their romance is far from an easy one, making way for plenty of hilarious and awkward moments that perfectly capture what it’s like to date in the current age as a queer person.
Along the way we meet plenty of colorful characters, played by iconic queer actors that we’ve seen in previous projects – including one truly hysterical cameo by Debra Messing as herself.
Billy Eichner and Nicholas Stoller’s screenplay is the star of Bros.
The cast of Bros is filled out with a fantastic comedic ensemble, with some terrific performances coming from standouts like TS Madison, Saturday Night Live's Bowen Yang, and Glee alum Dot-Marie Jones. But despite all that the actors bring to the new romantic comedy, it's the screenplay that is the true star of the show – delivering a story that is consistently entertaining and extremely real.
Bros was written by Billy Eichner himself along with Nicholas Stoller. Both of these filmmakers wore multiple hats and have crafted a sweet and funny rom-com that flies by. The pacing of the jokes buoys the movie’s 115-minute runtime and allows for more serious and tender moments to have real power once things slow down.
While Bros is breaking new ground as a queer romantic comedy getting a full theatrical release, it’s also going to give audiences everything they expect from a Judd Apatow comedy. Situations get outrageous, especially where Bobby and Aaron’s sex life is concerned. But at the same time, Bros also takes special care when honoring queer history in a way that feels organic and real.
Bros delivers on classic rom-com moments in a satisfying way.
While romantic comedies can sometimes be wild and raunchy, the best have a real love story at the heart of the narrative. Bros definitely knows this, and it’s methodically crafted the love story between Billy Eichner’s Bobby and Luke Macfarlane’s Aaron. These two characters are each grappling with issues related to masculinity and their identity, and the romance doesn’t start in the honeymoon stage. Instead we follow as they awkwardly get to know each other, complete with text message struggles and some group sex.
By the time the two leading men start to really become a couple, it feels like both the characters have earned it, and it's rewarding for the audience. We get swept away by how they each keep each other on their toes and open up in new and touching ways. Eichner and Macfarlane have great chemistry throughout, and both have brilliant timing and quotable lines.
Bros is inherently groundbreaking, but it also leans into romantic comedy tropes that should please the hardcore fans out there. We see characters running after each other in classic fashion, there are plenty of surprise cameos, and there’s even an unexpected musical number. And all of this is shot and edited in a way that doesn't make it seem corny. Instead the movie is salty and sweet in the perfect combination.
Bros captures the reality of queer dating, warts and all.
Aside from the cast itself, Bros is also groundbreaking in the way that it portrays dating within the LGBTQ+ community. There are unique pressures, stressors, and situations that simply haven’t been seen on the big screen before. And while there’s some sweet moments of love and affection, there are way more moments in which Billy Eichner and company lovingly poke fun at the community itself.
Some of the best moments of Bros come from scenes that Billy Eichner’s character Bobby shares with his co-workers on the board of the LGBTQ+ museum that he’s working to launch. Each character has had a different story as a queer person, and hold up their own mirror to the community. The movie takes aim at various controversial queer folks like Caitlyn Jenner and Colton Underwood, while also lovingly poking fun at pop culture projects like Dear Evan Hansen and Schitt’s Creek.
Bobby says early in Bros that “not all gay people are nice.” It’s the way that Eichner and Nicholas Stoller don’t handle the community itself with kid gloves which allows the new rom-com to feel so authentic. And it should come as no surprise that the screenplay written by the duo is delightfully twisted and seemingly built for a re-watch or two. In short: Bros does it all, perfectly leading us through laugh out loud comedy and a fresh, touching story.
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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