starring: billy eichner, luke macfarlane, brock ciarlelli, and monica raymund
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
Two men with commitment problems attempt a relationship.
Bros is an excellent romantic comedy co-written by Billy Eichner and director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Muppets and Neighbors movies) and stars Eichner in a loud, earnest and hilarious role as Bobby Lieber: an accomplished public figure, podcast host and curator of the novel new LGBTQ+ History Museum in Manhattan.
Bobby has taken his status as a single man in Manhattan and somewhat embedded it into his identity; he’s made it into an element of his podcast to explore the trials of navigating modern gay relationships in the city and is quite open with his friends in his personal life that he can’t understand the way people settle into relationships at the expense of their independence.
It’s this embedded view that starts to become challenged after he meets Aaron Shepard (Luke Macfarlane). At the launch party of a new gay dating app, Bobby is introduced to the shirtless, ripped and cap wearing Aaron, who Bobby immediately assumes to be a “meat head”, a gym-bro and boring. However Aaron surprises Bobby, not only with depth of conversation, but his emotional unavailability; his stance on not wanting a relationship rivals Bobby’s own standpoint and leaves him at a loss.
Over time the two men begin to spend time together and slowly start to connect more and share their lives with each other - Aaron meeting Bobby’s friends and Aaron confiding in Bobby about a long repressed dream for his life, something that he gave up for fear of being seen as too “gay”. Bobby has built a life around the express notion of allowing himself to, and to encourage others to accept themselves for who they are. He immediately encourages Aaron to pursue happiness rather than conform to society’s expectation, to be true to himself. Bobby challenges Aaron in many respects, in ways that he hasn’t experienced before. Aaron confounds Bobby, causing him to break from the identity he has built for himself by wanting to explore a relationship and feeling open enough to confide in and trust in someone else.
Billy Eichner is in fine form as Bobby, his dialogue is withering at times, confronting and so funny, especially when the script puts his high powered wit in some great settings like: nightclubs, a dinner with friends and a meet and greet dinner with Aaron’s family, just to name a few. Luke Macfarlane is great as Aaron, especially opposite Billy’s Bobby, and the script allows Luke a compelling arc to navigate for his character’s growth through the points of challenge and drama of the film. Bros also boasts some great cameos such as Amy Schumer, Debra Messing and Ben Stiller amongst others, providing some extra moments of surprise and humor
Bros is a strong and confident rom-com that explores some themes unique to LGBTQ+ relationships, while also being extremely funny, confronting and entirely memorable.