Film review by Jason Day of Bros, the 2022 romcom about two mismatched gay men in their 40’s traversing the complicated terrain of dating in New York and finding love with each other and starring Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane.
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Bobby (Billy Eichner) is a passionately political, single gay man who also sits on the board of an LGBTQ+ museum in New York. On a night out, he is surprised to attract the attentions of the unbelievably sexy lawyer Aaron (Luke Macfarlane). Traversing the tumult of the lives of gay men in a modern world, will they or won’t they become a couple?
Review, by @Reelreviewer
As the first (and belated) Hollywood romcom in which the romantic leads are gay and played by gay actors you’d think that, as a gay man, I’d be spinning around with delight like a middle-aged disco ball.
So why only two out of five stars, then?
As the inaugural ‘bromcom’ it is navigating unchartered waters as the premiere film for a specific audience. And it has a lot to work its way through in a similar way In the Heights (2021) did when trying to represent the many LatinX groups. And some people weren’t happy with the finished result, but at least it ‘broke the mould’ and paved the way for others within the LatinX to strike out and create other movies.
I feel the same way about Bros. It’s a movie about gay men, but only if the voices of other groups within the LGBTQ+ community is given representation. Hence the interminably dull, passive aggressive (and overtly aggressive) politicking rants at the museum lead where character Bobby (Billy Eichner) works.
Co-writer Eichner has been a TV star for a few years, but this is his first leading role in mainstream cinema, and he’s penned himself into a bit of a corner.
Obviously this is wish-fulfilment, fantasy stuff, so it’s teasing to believe that a cool, calm, and collected hunk like Macfarlane would fall for someone as devastatingly needy as nerdy Eichner. A man who merrily rants at any friend, relative or pedestrian within earsho.
Clearly men on the gay scene have all had frontal lobotomy’s if this fairytale of New York is possible.
With Eichner’s character Bobby, here’s another confusion. He tells us toward the end of the movie – and in some detail – that he had what most adult members of the LGBTQ+ community highly envious. His parents were accepting of his homosexuality when we was very young and were non-judgemental to the degree they sit through a kind of ‘Legs Akimbo’ style theatre production about gayness featuring naked performers.
Why then, having grown up in such a reciprocally loving and nurturing environment, is he so neurotic and needy, almost to the point of self destruction?
Macfarlane is sweet and blank as Eichner’s swoonsome fella which is how his character needs to be. Only a black hole personality could put up with someone like Billy.
Throughout, I felt this was a serious, ‘message movie’ and not the light, ‘first of its kind’ gay romantic comedy it has been marketed.
Or, have I just missed the joke? Is Bros a wry, politely satirical take on the modern, multi-textured, multi-pronoun modern world we all live in? Is it that clever, and am I that dumb?
Maybe I need to get back ‘on’ the scene. Now, where’s my gym card…?
Cast & credits
Director: Nicholas Stoller. 1hr 55mins/115mins. Universal Pictures/Apatow Productions/Stoller Global Solutions. (15).
Producers: Judd Apatow, Josh Church,
Writers: Billy Eichner, Nicholas Stoller.
Camera: Brandon Trost.
Music: Marc Shaiman.
Sets: Lisa Myers.
Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Guy Branam, Mizz Lawrence, TS Madison, Dot-Marie Jones, Jim Rash, Eve Lindley, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Diaz, Amanda Bearse, Debra Messing, Peter Kim, Justin Covington, Symone, Harvey Fierstein.