Filmhounds Magazine

All things film – In print and online

Bros (Blu-ray Review)

3 min read

Universal

While LGBTQ+ cinema is nothing new, romantic comedies, especially the mainstream ones, have always been a very heteronormative affair.

Along comes Bros, a comedy from the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which promised to tell a gay love story. But, rather than simply telling a version of a straight story with two men, it is fully influenced by the love lives of Gay men.

Universal

As our lead, Bobby (Billy Eichner – also co-writer) states when asked to write a romcom for a major studio “our lives our different, our love lives are different and our sex lives are different”… it certainly delivers on all of those fronts. There would be a risk for Bros to feel exploitative, were it not for the constant involvement of Queer writers and actors in it’s development. The comedy is honest and earnest without pulling punches at the absurdity that strikes any relationship that comes with a double dose of testosterone.

Despite the crude sexuality of it; there are multiple scenes of group sex – more humorous than titillating – it evolves into something very sweet and earnest that nurtures a comparable warmth to your favourite Nora Ephron offering.

Confident in these differences that mark Bros from a more traditional romcom, there are still factors that link it back to them. The use of music is heavily reminiscent of any number of Meg Ryan led films, and a couple are even name dropped at times. Suggesting that despite the highly sexualised nature of these men’s relationships to each other, the romance of those films still resonates with them.

Universal

Bros skirts a delicate balance, clearly made for a mainstream audience without pulling punches on realism or descending into tragic sentimentality. There is a definite trend of stories about Gay men being constantly connected back to the AIDS crisis. And while that is highly relevant, and it is touched on here, it is nice to see a story that doesn’t linger on it. It’s a scar that many carry, but it doesn’t define them and it’s satisfying to see a historical crisis reflected in that way.

Our leads are generally likeable, mostly, though Bobby is perhaps a bit obnoxious. His paramour Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) is on the surface more attractive and endearing, but has his own problems to overcome before they can truly be together.

One does wish however that we could have heard more positive Gay stories through the plot and dialogue. While it’s amusing to hear them argue over whether Abraham Lincoln was in fact, straight, Gay or Bi, the central setting of an LGBTQ+ museum would have allowed for some more stories or names to be mentioned so it’s a real shame they aren’t. The bonus features too don’t really flesh these things out, despite a short featurette about the lack of a real museum of this type in the United States. All the bonus features, despite there being quite a list of them, are relatively superficial beyond pointing out the use of a fully Queer cast (even in the straight roles).

Bros is a brilliantly fun, accessible and hilarious romantic comedy that sits confidently amongst it’s ancestors.

Bros is released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 6th