I love a rom-com. There’s something about the predictability of the ending, but the tumultuous journey to get to the (usually) happy ending that has me coming back for more. Bros is an unabashedly queer rom-com that calls out the LGBTQ+ dating community, but somehow through the commentary and the laughs doesn’t feel like it’s talking down to it. Instead, it’s embracing it and all its messiness.
While I’m not a member of the alphabet mafia, I am a strong ally. I’ve lived through my friends and family members journey’s of embracing being gay, dating disasters and triumphs, as well as the rise of Grindr/Adam4Adam/Tinder, and more. So while watching Bros I went down my own memory lane.
Eichner and Nicholas Stoller’s (Yes Man) script is hilarious, important, and doesn’t take itself too seriously – even though Bobby discusses a lot of serious subjects. They know what jokes will land, and I swear at one point they held for laughs. When you hear the Dear Evan Hansen joke you’ll see what I mean.
WHAT IS BROS ABOUT?
Bros stars Billy Eichner (The Lion King) as Bobby Leiber, a 40-year-old perpetually single gay man who hosts a podcast and is in the process of opening the first ever National LGBTQ+ Museum. The film opens up with a monologue about gay male hook-up cultures where he simultaneously is disgusted by it but also loving its lonely euphoria. When going to a launch party for a new gay hookup app, Bobby meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane). Aaron is an upstate New York Bro, backward cap, shirtless fit boy, and all. The two have a banter-filled meet cute that ends with Bobby telling him off for leading him on.
The story continues and we see Bobby, who has had walls up his entire life learn that it’s okay to need someone. That it’s okay to love someone. It’s okay to let someone in. Bobby’s journey is heartbreakingly relatable. This isn’t an unfamiliar journey for queer Millennials. We’re (hopefully) the last generation that had to constantly fight for rights, fight for equality, and fight to be seen, as well as accepted. The fact that this is the FIRST LGBTQ+ rom-com backed by a major studio and playing in theaters says it all.
Something I particularly enjoyed is that Bobby wasn’t the only character on an important journey. Aaron has his own baggage. Not being openly gay growing up he went the opposite way of Bobby. Aaron lives for the hookup no-strings-attached life. While he’s stunningly handsome, his confidence wavers. He’s intimidated by Bobby, who also doesn’t believe he’s good enough for Aaron. The two have an adorable heart-to-heart where Aaron confesses how unhappy he actually is and shares his childhood passion. It’s honestly one of my favorite scenes in the film. Watching these two work through their own baggage and create something beautiful was magnificent to watch.
A PEEK BEHIND THE RAINBOW CURTAIN
Throughout Bros, Eichner and Stoller give straight people a peek behind the rainbow curtain into the world of gay dating culture. While yes, there are a ton of LGBTQ+ monogamous couples who (like in the film) are happy and looking for surrogates to begin their families there’s also the world of the thrupple, open relationships, orgyies, and threesomes. Not to mention hookups through gay dating apps.
The conversations in these scenes from the initial “chat” to the end are hilarious and honest. The encounters are reminiscent of stories I’ve been told. While Bobby (Eichner) is explaining this world I appreciated that he doesn’t apologize for it. There was never a moment where he sounded ashamed or embarrassed, even when making fun of it.
WHY IS A ROM-COM RATED R?
This isn’t the first time that a rom-com has been Rated-R. Bridget Jones’s Diary, The 40-year-old Virgin, There’s Something About Mary, as well as everyone’s holiday favorite Love Actually to name a few.
In my opinion, the R-Rating allows for more realism in the world. It lets the characters speak with candor, and live out real-life situations without having to worry about censoring themselves. There’s nothing in Bros that we haven’t seen in a million straight movies.
WHY IS BROS 2 HOURS LONG?
As much as I enjoyed Bros, I do not understand the runtime. It’s a very rare film, in my opinion, that needs to be longer than 90-100 minutes. The film’s pace starts to drag, and jokes don’t land as well. The film could’ve easily shaved 15-20 mins off.
Bros is now playing in theaters. Make sure to check it out!
Stay tuned to That Hashtag Show for more reviews.