Billy Eichner skyrocketed to popularity thanks to Billy on the Street, but his romantic comedy Bros establishes him as a bonafide movie star. Co-written and starring Eichner, Bros is not only a tremendous step forward for LGBTQ representation on screen, but a wonderful, hilarious film in its own right.
The film follows two men with commitment problems who find unexpected love in each other. On paper, it sounds like a cutesy film that is going to lean heavily on the historical aspect of its storyline — being the first theatrically-released gay rom-com from a major Hollywood studio — but the talent involved weren’t going to let this be some shallow entry into the genre.
Like much of Stoller’s other work, Bros bends the tropes of the genre. Of course, the obvious way is by telling a typically straight rom-com story with a gay couple as the protagonists. However, it goes even further than that. Stoller and Eichner’s script completely dissects the LGBTQ dating scene and explores how queer relationships are fundamentally different from straight ones.
One of the things that works best in this film is its very specific jokes aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Yet even though it is designed with queer audiences in mind, the jokes are not so niche that straight audiences won’t appreciate them. Even the little one-off lines will get belly laughs from those in the know.
And while the film will have you rolling in your seat in laughter, this does not come at the expense of emotional authenticity. Some of the film’s beats do feel a bit forced, but given that the film is effectively parodying these cliches, it definitely works in that regard, feeling refreshing even when it isn’t exactly defying expectations.
Billy Eichner has a clear connection to the role given that he co-wrote the screenplay himself, and he absolutely commands the screen. He effectively plays an exaggerated version of his typically stand-offish persona, albeit in a way that feels very endearing and sympathetic. There are some people who aren’t fans of Eichner’s personality, but even they may find themselves won over by him in this film.
The rest of the cast is great, with an ensemble of legendary LGBTQ actors from today and yesterday filling out the supporting roles. However, the true shining star of the supporting cast is Luke MacFarlane, who brings an astounding level of depth to a character that could have simply been the hot love interest. Of course, much of this success is thanks to Eichner and Stoller actually giving him an arc, but MacFarlane is extremely charming and elevates it further.
Bros is without a doubt one of the funniest movies of the year, and will go down as one of the best romantic comedies of the decade. It’s funny, sexy, smart, and heartfelt, delivering on everything you would want in a rom-com and more. 10/10.
Bros screened at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, which runs September 8-18.