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Bros ★★★★★



Director: Nicholas Stoller

CastBilly Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Guy Branum

Release28th October 2022 (UK)

‘Hey, do you remember straight people? Yeah. They had a nice run!’

The romantic comedy has been a godsend for us queer people over the years, and immersed in a winter wonderland with Colin Firth warmly wrapping up a chilly Renee Zellweger, skewering how nice guys kiss. Richard Gere conquers his fear of heights to sweep Julia Roberts off her feet as they modernise fairy-tale tropes. On the sidelines, we’ve been channelling Meg Ryan and Estelle Reiner in When Harry Met Sally, screaming YES! I’ll have what she’s having in craving a slice of that delicious happy ending on-screen.

My mind immediately rewinds to the ’90s with Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding or Greg Kinnear in As Good As It Gets. Their enjoyment may have been immense, but a deep-rooted sadness lay beneath this veneer of ‘progression’ in our representation. That we were seemingly incapable of achieving a similar outcome for ourselves in who we’re fond of. We are indulging in grand gestures as we declare who we love. Instead, we’ve been resigned to propping up the heteronormative love story as the gay best friend to enable character growth for our leads, with the industry trailing behind in allowing us to flourish and seize ownership of our potential happiness, for this queer writer who didn’t come out until I was 24.

When it comes to queer relationships and our history, the path has never been *cough* straightforward. Long pre-conditioned to think we’ll live a lonely existence, our predominantly liberal ways of thinking have gradually redefined what we genuinely consider contentment. The fluidity of who we’re attracted to—the polyamorous nature in how we engage in romance and sex. We are assembling an unapologetically LGBTQ+ cast and the brainchild of one Billy Eichner. Bros is a riotous endorsement of our admittedly chaotic ways that honour the genre without compromising its distinctive voice.

Billy Eichner in Bros movie

A motormouth host of the podcast The 11th Brick, although 2015 Roland Emmerich would have you thinking a cis white gay threw the first at Stonewall. He may be fighting to open the first national LGBTQ+ museum alongside a fabulous scene-stealing collective consisting of TS Madison, Dot-Marie Jones, Jim Rash, Miss Lawrence and Eve Lindley. But Bobby (Eichner) is swift in closing the door on being in a serious monogamous relationship, with his cynicism polluting the New York air.

Self-deprecation is his defence mechanism to mask the underlying anxieties that flare up on the dating scene. Whether eye-rolling at how comfortable his hetero friends are now talking about gay sex or providing commentary on the announcement of a ‘throuple’. In a chance bar encounter that seems to be the breeding ground for ‘jacked up Dumbledores’. Despite initially implying he’s just another empty-headed muscle queen, Bobby strikes up an unlikely rapport with Luke McFarlane’s disillusioned lawyer Aaron, who likes to keep it casual too. For all their quick app detours and collective resistance in the days following their meet-cute, the pull is magnetic, forcing both men to re-evaluate their stances.

Bros’ rapid-fire precision in dissecting the queer experience through dating will leave many of its target audience feeling very seen. The widely accepted absurdity that lies in the immediacy of how we interact dialled up further on-screen with an extended ‘ass pic’ fiasco and a side-splitting bedroom scene consisting of shoving and slapping each other, exposing this phoney persona we apply when feeling insecure. This battle can sadly rage inside queer people when they see their significant other or someone they admire. Being far franker in their queerness than how you believe you project, overanalysing social situations whilst worrying the wrong tone is being struck. From this middle-aged perspective, the takedown of such toxic masculinity, coupled with internalised homophobia, is razor-sharp in its observations.

A scene from Bros movie

Such soul-searching spills into the broader representation of our wonderfully diverse community too. Going hilariously meta on how cis white Oscar-baiting men have had a stranglehold on queer on-screen representation so far and the banking on famous straight LGBTQ+’ allies’ to amplify projects carefully tailored for queer people, with its revolving door of crowd-pleasing cameos elevating the material further. But it finds crucial room to pepper the film with queer history and comments on its reclaiming, which has quickly been distorted through flawed education systems in the past, without coming across as heavy-handed within its rom-com framework. Particularly Eichner’s wicked exchanges with his museum colleagues reinforces that our community’s approach may be anarchic in its wit. The chorus of marginalised people to feel seen and heard by a predominantly heteronormative society must continue to be loud.

They are speaking of loud when it comes to the red-hot chemistry of Billy Eichner and Luke McFarlane, and your heart will beat precisely that—thankfully overcoming their laidback beginnings layered with superior bickering that masquerades as flirting. The pair’s honest emotional outpourings (one sunset monologue from Eichner a hearty gem), alongside their increasingly cutesy nature, help a joyful romance that isn’t afraid to be sex-positive and bracingly vulnerable.

A thoughtful, tremendously funny treat and one of the best comedies of recent years, consider Bros worthy of a fist bump.

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