There is nothing like a good romantic comedy to take your mind off of everything else going on in the world and warm your heart. Alongside the horror genre, it’s one that has been played to death where it feels like any modern entry we get to the genre has to be drenched in self-aware irony. Sometimes this works and can feel genuinely clever in its approach to being a few steps ahead of the audience, but other times it can feel a bit insincere and miss the mark on why people genuinely love romantic comedies in the first place. Bros not only makes history as the first gay rom-com from a major studio, but it manages to balance being both a riff on the cliches of queer cinema, romantic comedies as a whole, and dating culture in the 2020s as well as being incredibly sincere, heartfelt, and full of genuinely hilarious laughs.
The film follows Bobby Lieber (Billy Eichner), who has found success in hosting a podcast in New York City and also has his sights on opening one of the largest LGBTQ+ museums. One of the very first things we learn about Bobby is that he’s never been in a committed relationship with another person, but that he openly tries to embrace and normalize that. One of the more interesting elements of the film is how it never looks down upon the idea of Bobby’s inability to connect with others outside of hookups, but finds truth in how his insecurities and our culture as a whole has made it difficult for him. Eichner really shines here and delivers an earnest, heartfelt with this material that feels genuinely sincere and from the heart.
It isn’t too long into the film that Bobby meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane, who is fantastic here) at a club, and they immediately have such a fascinating chemistry with one another. There’s a clear attraction between the two of them, but there’s also an undeniable, fundamental difference to them as people from the moment they communicate with each other. Both are insecure in their own unique ways, and also confident in their own ways. The film does a really great job at exploring the characters’ insecurities in a way that feels honest and fresh, but it doesn’t singularly focus on their traumas and flaws – they challenge each other and have fun in equal measure. By the time you hit the third act, it truly feels like you know so much about them that they feel like real people; truly one of the best on-screen couples/romances in recent memory!
Aside from all the drama and romance, a lot of people will simply wonder whether or not this movie is funny – and the answer is a resounding yes. There are so many niche jokes that I couldn’t help but cackle at several points in the theater, but it also feels really broad in the way that it tackles real-world issues and cliches that have been engraved in the media all of us consume on a daily basis. In short, the film does what all great comedy does – it first makes you laugh, but it makes you think about what you’re laughing at and why it’s funny to you. It’s observational, sometimes satirical humor appropriately drenched in irony. It’s also not above really simple and raunchy jokes at times either. It has it all!
Like most Apatow-produced comedies, could Bros have shaved off about 10-15 minutes? Maybe. While I do have to say it feels a little long by the end, I’m also not necessarily sure what I would cut since it all works really well and all services the wider story. The film feels significant simply by being exactly as it is, but never loses sight on the simplicity of being entertaining and heartfelt and how that’s more important in a rom-com than anything else. Bros simply feels like it was made out of love from everyone involved, and I genuinely see it becoming a classic for years to come,