On Tuesday, a free advance screening of the film “Bros” was showing at the State Theater! As soon as I saw the trailer for this movie I was intrigued. A tropey gay rom com? Set in NYC? Billy Eichner?? I went in expecting a good time and this movie delivered.
This movie knew what it was trying to be and made it obvious from the start. A movie for the masses, that could portray a romance beween two white cis gay men with levity and humor while acknowledging the history of gay trauma that precedes it. So often, queer cinema centers stories of queer oppression, grief, and crisis. These stories are important, but where is the room for joy and lightheartedness? To me, this film was trying to say: “Despite the weight of this trauma, we have joy, too! We have sweet and ordinary and non-history-making moments too! Let’s revel in it!”
And so it does: this film is laugh-out-loud funny. There were very few moments, sitting in the darkened theater, that I did not have a ridiculous grin on my face. Eichner, who readers may know from his role as Craig Middlebrooks in the television sitcom Parks and Recreation, both wrote and starred in this movie. He nails his role as Bobby, a stubborn and endearing podcaster who is opening the first LGBTQ+ museum in NYC. His comedy is whip-smart, meta, full of delightful irony. His chemistry with Aaron (played by Luke Macfarlane), a “gym bro” lawyer with commitment issues, is electric and real. This film includes some of the most realistic portrayals of romantic intimacy I’ve ever seen. Yes there are charged, steamy moments, but there’s also a healthy amount of awkwardness and silly hijinks. Sometimes you just want to have a pillow fight!
Bros is also a movie that is very self-aware of itself. It celebrates its significance – after all it’s an adult-oriented LGBTQ+ movie produced by a mainstream film studio, and it features an openly queer principal cast. However, it also constantly references its own shortcomings. This movie knows that it is only representing a small slice of queer identity (namely that belonging to cis white men), that it is leaving countless other stories out of the picture. When it celebrates pieces of important queer history, it simultaneously pays homage to the progress that the world still needs to make for the LGBTQ+ community. About being the first openly gay man to write and star in a romantic comedy for a major Hollywood studio, Billy Eichner said:
“I’m honored that it’s me, but it should have been someone else 30 or 40 years ago.”
This kind of movie is definitely late in making its way into the world, but I think it’s better late than never.
TL;DR – I would highly recommend catching Bros while it’s still showing at the State Theater. It is fresh and funny and put a big ol’ smile on my face throughout.