Ben’s “Gay” Breakdown | “Bros” Sets a New Bar for Romantic Comedies
Meet Bobby Leiber. Bobby is an openly gay man, brimming with self-confidence, has an incredibly snarky attitude, and has a popular podcast (I wish the Two Gay Geeks could be THAT popular!). He’s also been named the director of the nation’s first LGBTQ+ history museum as well as “Cis White Gay Man Of The Year.” That’s a lot for Bobby. He has also given up on love. He’s very happy living life as a single man and sees no point in having a relationship, especially after repeatedly failed Grindr hookups.
Meet Aaron Shepard. Aaron is an estate lawyer. He is a beefcake and downplays his sexuality as much as Bobby flaunts it. Aaron’s life is repressed. He hates his job. Instead, he originally wanted to be a chocolatier but abandoned that career because he feared it was too “femme.” Bobby and Aaron meet at a club and catch each other’s eyes. They meet up, chat, and promptly criticize things about the LGBTQ community they don’t like, but through that, there is still something drawing them towards each other. Can they become a couple, despite their differences, or are they merely Bros?
Movies that are filled with openly LGBTQ+ cast members are not new. We have seen a plethora of independent films with a Queer crew and cast, but Bros is unique because it’s the first one of its type put out by a major studio (Universal Pictures). Directed by Nicholas Stoller and written by both Stoller and star Billy Eichner, Bros is a movie that is forced to walk a very fine line. With LGBTQ independent films, there are few risks in worrying about alienating more mainstream (re “straight”) audiences. They are making their movies for a specific audience without concern for anyone outside of that demographic. Bros has to find a way to please both the Queer and non-Queer audiences. Can it push the boundaries so that it doesn’t come off as too sanitized or “vanilla” for queer audiences but still be approachable for straight audiences to come and see this romantic comedy? The answer is a resounding YES!
Bros has several amusing elements and tropes that generated some pretty good laughs as stories go. The committee that Bobby has to work with to get this museum open is filled with a nice cross-section of LGBTQ+ people. There is the militant bisexual Robert (played hilariously by Jim Rash), the fiercely loud and proud lesbian Cherry (Dot-Marie Jones), the confident transgender woman Angela (TS Madison), and the very calm and level-headed black gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ person Wanda (Miss Lawrence). One of the biggest stereotypes (which has more than just a sliver of truth) is how these different aspects of the overall Queer community do not get along. This is portrayed to hilarious levels as these people bicker and scream at each other about how they want this museum put together. Is it over the top? Perhaps, but the truthfulness behind it makes these jokes resonate and come together in a beautiful moment towards the movie’s end.
Another stereotype that some people might view the LGBTQ+ community is the approach toward sex. Some believe that all gay men are interested in is where the next orgy is located. While Bros does take a bold approach at showing some comedic attempts at a four-way, as well as an amusing bedroom scene between Bobby and Aaron, it is still done honestly. For example, during the Press Junket we attended, even Eichner said that he has friends in New York whose sex lives aren’t that dissimilar to what we saw on the screen. The beauty of what Bros does is present these truths through humor and only in the slightest sanitized way to make it both palatable to those in the non-Queer community as well as make it funny.
The cast for Bros is outstanding. From the supporting cast of Jim Rash, Dot-Marie Jones, and Miss Lawrence, down to the delightful cameo appearance of Debra Messing (she OWNS the very first scene where she appears), and even Harvey Fierstein and Amanda Bearse (as Aaron’s mother), there is not one weak performance here. Everyone is bringing their “A-game,” indicating their support and dedication to this movie. However, Bros is about its stars, Eichner as Bobby and Luke Macfarlane as Aaron. This is the first time they’ve both starred in a gay romantic comedy, and if anyone ever had doubts about their ability to lead a movie, Bros is proof that they can do it. Eichner has a scene where he shares some of the negativity Bobby went through growing up. His delivery was so powerful that it will resonate with anyone who has ever had to deal with constantly being put down. Macfarlane brilliantly shows us a man who is forced to deal with his own fears about becoming his authentic self. When he receives an innocent instant message greeting from Bobby late in the second half of the movie, the insecurity he shows is hilariously comedic and heartfelt. It is another moment that many people in the audience will look at and possibly even see themselves. It is followed by a wonderfully dramatic moment that will leave audience members with tears in their eyes. From these scenes, there is no doubt that both of these men are capable of starring in their own movies.
I believe that Bros can make cinematic history and even shatter any glass ceilings proving that audiences are ready for quality big-studio LGBTQ+ movies with a fully LGBTQ+ cast. With streaming services such as HereTV and the more commercially available Netflix and Amazon Prime with their original LGBTQ+ content, audiences are ready to see big studios make Queer movies with an equally Queer cast for everyone to enjoy. This movie has broken the mold to become more than just a good LGBTQ+ romantic comedy. Bros transcended itself and the genre and has become a simply superb movie!!!
Bros receives 5 out of 5 Stars!!!
Official Website: Bros | Movie Site & Trailer | In Theaters September 30, 2022
From the ferocious comic mind of Billy Eichner (BILLY ON THE STREET, 2019’s THE LION KING, DIFFICULT PEOPLE, IMPEACHEMENT: AMERICAN CRIME STORY) and the hitmaking brilliance of filmmakers Nicholas Stoller (the NEIGHBORS films, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL) and Judd Apatow (THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND, TRAINWRECK, THE BIG SICK), comes Bros, a smart, swoony and heartfelt comedy about how hard it is to find another tolerable human being to go through life with.
BROS opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, September 30, 2022.
ONE-LINER: Two men with commitment problems attempt a relationship.