Directed by Nicholas Stoller, Bros is the first romantic comedy centering on a gay relationship released by a major studio. Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane star as the lead couple, two New York City gay men who have sworn off committed relationships until they meet each other.
Romantic comedies often succeed because of two important elements: the impediments and the philosophy. The impediments prevent the two people from being together, and interesting situations and characters often create these impediments. Additionally, good rom coms have something to say about the nature of love and who we are as people; Annie Hall, for example, could double as a text in an “Introduction to Existentialism” college philosophy course. By these metrics, Bros is one for two.
Bros has some profoundly interesting impediments that are based in well-drawn characters and social dynamics. Aaron (Macfarlane) struggles with his identity and his place in the world, and Bobby (Eichner) concentrates on political projects that define his life within the larger gay community. Bobby has idealistic expectations for himself that no one can live up to, and Aaron soon realizes that Bobby’s ideals challenge how he’s been living his life. These themes and relationship dynamics are both universal and, within the context of the film, unique to modern gay relationships, but for me, Bros didn’t hit the transcendent level that other rom coms have.
All of that profound stuff aside, Bros is fun, laugh-out-loud funny, broad, and intelligent when it wants to be. The performances are winning, bright, and charming. All of the characters are interesting and compelling.
Audiences should be aware of the film’s R rating, an MPAA mark it clearly deserves, but for those comfortable with the material, Bros checks all of the rom com boxes with aplomb. Beyond being a good movie for representation, Bros is just a good movie.