Written By Hayden Claborn, Entertainment Reviewer
There is a bit of chatter about how groundbreaking Bros is, the new romantic comedy from filmmaker Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and comedian Billy Eichner. It seems that every few years a new groundbreaking LGBTQ film is released, but that is more a product of the times than anything else. While the film is groundbreaking when it comes to representation with its openly queer cast (even including actors playing straight characters), Bros is a fairly standard romantic comedy. But that is in no way a sin when it comes to being an enjoyable movie for a night out.
Bobby (Billy Eichner) is a 40 year old gay man living in New York City who prides himself on being independent and has just joined the board of the first LGBTQ+ history museum. He isn’t into relationships and prefers quick hookups from men he finds on Grindr. This all changes once he meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a total beefcake who grabs Bobby’s attention. In true romantic comedy fashion, they radically alter each other’s lives.
Bros rests on the shoulders of Eichner and Macfarlane. The duo bring out the best of each other and are able to nail the snappy, frequently funny, dialogue. It’s a game of contrast between them. During their first date, Bobby asks what Aaron’s favorite movie is and he replies with The Hangover. Bobby proceeds to go on a rant about one of the opening lines including the F slur and questions why a gay man would like it. Turns out Aaron was just joking and wanted to see Bobby get angry. The moment foreshadows how Bobby is overly on the offensive and Aaron is deceptively chill. As the film goes on, the performers are given time to bring depth to their characters. Luke Macfarlane is a name you should keep in mind as he adds a melancholic layer to the character of Aaron, someone who is holding himself back in several areas.
I want to devote some time talking about the sex scenes. There are plenty of queer love stories in film but they frequently shy away from the actual sex; and when they do you sometimes get Blue is the Warmest Color where the over the top sex conflicts with the naturalistic performances. Sure, the sex in Bros is appropately raunchy and at times hilarious, but there are also sweet and tender moments in there too. In my opinion, the way Nicholas Stoller treats the sex scenes is what makes Bros groundbreaking when it comes to mainstream queer cinema.
Where Bros falls apart is the editing and pacing. This is a nearly two hour movie that could’ve easily been a hundred minutes. Romantic comedy is a genre that benefits from a tight runtime, and Bros lets things draw out and meanders in the middle. Frankly, whenever Eichner and Macfarlane weren’t on screen together I was less engaged. Also, at times the editing comes across as shotty and sloppy. At the end of the day though, Bros is a funny movie. Sometimes that’s all you need.