Combustible Celluloid Review - Bros (2022), Billy Eichner, Nicholas Stoller, Nicholas Stoller, Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Bowen Yang, Ts Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Díaz, Guy Branum, Amanda Bearse, Jim Rash, Miss Lawrence, Harvey Fierstein, Symone, Eve Lindley, D’Lo Srijaerajah, Jai Rodriguez, Peter Kim, Dot-Marie Jones, Becca Blackwell, Brock Ciarlelli, Kristin Chenoweth, Debra Messing, Justin Covington, Ben Stiller, Kenan Thompson, Amy Schumer, Seth Meyers
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With: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Bowen Yang, Ts Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Díaz, Guy Branum, Amanda Bearse, Jim Rash, Miss Lawrence, Harvey Fierstein, Symone, Eve Lindley, D’Lo Srijaerajah, Jai Rodriguez, Peter Kim, Dot-Marie Jones, Becca Blackwell, Brock Ciarlelli, Kristin Chenoweth, Debra Messing, Justin Covington, Ben Stiller, Kenan Thompson, Amy Schumer, Seth Meyers
Written by: Billy Eichner, Nicholas Stoller
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, language throughout and some drug use
Running Time: 115
Date: 09/30/2022
IMDB

Bros (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Romcom Aplomb

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Built upon the creaky old bones of the romcom genre, the landmark gay-themed movie Bros fleshes itself out with a self-aware, slap-happy sense of humor, and the fresh, lovable result may have wide appeal.

Bobby (Billy Eichner) hosts a gay-themed podcast and is struggling to open the first LGBTQ+ museum in Los Angeles. He believes he's better off not being in a relationship and prefers the occasional hookup. At a club, he meets handsome Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), an unhappy lawyer who dreams of opening a chocolate shop. There's a clear attraction, but Aaron — who prefers sex with more than one partner — is as reluctant as Bobby to let anything get too deep.

They begin spending time together, and discover, to their horror, that they are very good for each other. But when Bobby meets Aaron's parents at Christmastime, and an old crush of Aaron's comes out as gay, the men have a huge argument. Can they find it in their hearts to give each other a second chance?

Apparently the very first LGBTQ+ romantic comedy ever released by a major studio (about time), Bros comes from the minds of writer/actor Eichner, writer/director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Neighbors) and producer Judd Apatow, and their combined expertise results in a movie that feels less like a planned groundbreaker than it does a funny, honest look at the gay lifestyle. Many jokes will certainly appeal more to LGBTQ+ audiences, but many more jokes still are crossovers, and many of those land with belly laughs, especially scenes that parody Hallmark Christmas movies, and Bowen Yang's bonkers moments.

Bros is not shy about sex, and depicts, with a lot of flesh yet without much graphic nudity, situations of multiple partners, and odd or awkward encounters, contrasting those with moments of actual trust and love. The romance sequences also feel spot-on, attempting to balance opening up to another person with fears of getting hurt.

Dating montages, cameos by various stars, the Big Argument, characters becoming better people to earn their partners back, and the final Grand Gesture, all feel familiar — and sometimes too familiar for a movie that runs almost two hours — but there's an energy that powers through them, and keeps our goodwill. Overall, Bros feels like a solid combination of bold and safe, funny and touching, that might join some of its heteronormative inspirations, like When Harry Met Sally, as a re-watchable favorite.

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