‘Bros’ Is A Very Queer, Very Safe Foolproof Rom-Com.

Romantic comedies, you either love them or you cannot stand them. I would say I have a soft spot for them. There is something comforting about watching a heterosexual love story unfold from cheesy meet-cutes to dating montages to a one-sided breakup to grand gestures and happy endings. It’s formulaic and safe and I love watching one on occasion. Nowadays we’re getting more queer representation in the movies and queer rom-coms are starting to become a thing. Two years ago, there was that cute holiday movie ‘Happiest Season’ but it wasn’t a global theatrical release, unfortunately. Now, however, Billy Eichner of ‘Billy on the Street’ fame is aiming to sell one of the first gay romantic comedies with an all-queer cast and openly gay characters with ‘Bros‘. It’s the movie with the poster with two guys grabbing each other’s asses and the one that unfortunately flopped at the box-office. According to Eichner, this is what gay people wanted to see in theatres but ‘Barbarian’s box-office numbers would say otherwise. It was quite an interesting experience going to watch this with a friend in a theatre where only one other person was attending. It’s also unfortunate because the movie was quite enjoyable but in terms of gay stories, this one wasn’t anything I haven’t seen already.

spoilers for ‘Bros‘ are featured in this review.

Billy Eichner is in my opinion, a funny guy, I love his series and his humour is genuinely funny to me. I get that humour is a subjective concept but again, that’s just my opinion. ‘Bros‘ was nothing different, I was in tears from laughing within the first fifteen minutes, the comedy for the most part lands and Eichner’s delivery was perfect every time. There is a scene where he matches with a guy on Grindr who requests an ass pic before anything else and what follows is Eichner with his ass out who cuts himself while shaving and loses all faith in himself declaring himself a failure of a human being. As I explain the joke to you with words it sounds mildly humourous, actually watching it in theatres, it was the most I’ve ever laughed in one. The entire gist of the movie is that Eichner’s character Bobby Lieber is this slightly bitter, very single gay man who feels like the only person he can count on is himself. I actually fucking hate how much I relate to him, thank you Eichner for this very flattering portrayal of my personality. He is part of a group of curators for the new National LGBTQ+ History Museum in Manhattan. His fellow colleagues are just as hilarious and their conversations or more-so arguments brought me to tears with laughter. While the jokes are funny on paper, I once again have to praise the line delivery because every single one of them nails it. The thing is, so far I’ve only talked about the “com” part of the rom-com and there is a reason why.

The romance between Bobby and Aaron is honestly just fine. They’re cute together and all that but the truth is that I am getting tired of seeing gay romance stories enforcing internalized homophobia into the plot. I’ve seen it so many times and it’s not really the type of story trope to keep on repeating. For example, this year’s mega-hit ‘Heartstopper‘ used it but it made up for it by showcasing an innocent and pure love blossom between its two leads, that show felt euphoric with its representation and while ‘Bros‘ is very clearly a different type of audience and maturity, I rarely ever felt happy for them honestly. It was the main conflict of the movie, the entire reason they broke up is because Aaron asks Bobby to tone down his entire personality and identity in front of his parents. Aaron is already out and I get that meeting the parents is a big deal but telling your partner to diminish his entire self for the sake of a peaceful evening is just awful. If he believed it would be a dangerous situation to put Bobby in because they were maybe homophobic, I would understand that but considering they know they’re together, it really shouldn’t have been the main conflict of the movie. I would’ve preferred it if it were because of Bobby’s insecurities but the movie doesn’t really explore that as well as it should have. The entire grand gesture at the end was honestly quite painful to sit through because the movie calls some gays out for not understanding satire and I guess I’m one of them because the entire Garth Brooks-inspired song that Bobby sings for Aaron in front of a huge crowd of people? It didn’t want to end, it just kept going and going and it wasn’t really funny, I chuckled because I was questioning whether the movie wanted me to laugh or to aww at them. The joke at the end with the three-month proposal was another eye-roll moment but I do have to say that it was at the end of the day, very good for me as a gay person to see a gay couple on the big-screen just be cheesy in their own rom-com.

All in all, ‘Bros‘ was a genuinely fun time, I am saddened by the fact that it bombed at the box-office although to be fair, rom-coms aren’t really doing well in theatres unless it involves huge shenanigans in another country that stars two movie stars like ‘The Lost City‘ and ‘Ticket to Paradise‘. Theatrical rom-coms have stepped up their game because they have to and unfortunately ‘Bros’ is a movie that should’ve come out years ago. All that matters is that it did come out and I am glad it exists but it’s not the revolutionary movie Eichner thought it was going to be. Even ‘Will and Grace’ did a better job.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Bros‘ is now available for online purchase.

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