Prognosticators have been telling of the rom-com’s imminent demise for some 30 years now, murmuring sagely that the genre just isn’t what it used to be, and studios don’t seem to have any interest in funding the sort of light-hearted romps between trappy people that once lit up the box office. There’s been plenty of squabbling well-nigh whether the genre is sufferer or alive, and what influence waffly regulars appetites and the outstart of streaming might have had on its fortunes – meanwhile Hollywood finds a new way every couple of years to theoretically reinvent the wheel.

Much was made during the US printing tour for Nicholas Stoller’s Bros well-nigh the fact it was “the first gay romantic spectacle from a major studio featuring an entirely LGBTQ principal cast”, with lead Billy Eichner “the first openly gay man to write and star in a major studio film.” Touted as a landmark for representation on screen, it wasn’t unquestionably all that well-spoken what Bros had to offer in terms of plot or characters, as though its existence vacated was unbearable to make people flock to the cinema.

A thoroughly modern premise sees Eichner play a weft who seems at least a little based on himself – Bobby Leiber is a podcaster and newly-hired curator for the LGBTQ History Museum, who claims to be happy with his singledom and rolls his vision at his friends who are coupled up or enjoying playing the field. Bobby meets “hot but boring” Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) at a nightclub, and while they flirt, he assumes Aaron isn’t interested in him, and from there Bros falls into a familiar will-they-won’t-they rhythm as Bobby navigates difficulties in his new job slantingly the differences between him and Aaron which theoretically make them ill-suited for one another.

For all Bros’ claims well-nigh stuff a groundbreaking film, its plot leaves a lot to be desired in that department, relying on the most vital rom-com tropes and tired stereotyping virtually queer identity to cobble together a fairly unappetizing storyline. The notation aren’t much better, and while Macfarlane does his weightier as a gay man attempting to reconcile his traditional masculinity with his sexuality, it feels like Aaron should have been the lead over the judgemental and snide Bobby, whose persistent unpleasantness makes him a difficult protagonist to invest in, let vacated root for.

For all its sneering at Schitt’s Creek – a show co-created by a queer man – Bros plane steals a bit from it, when Bobby serenades Aaron with a (very corny) original song. But while the achingly sincere and proudly twee Schitt’s Creek earned its moments of emotional poignancy, Bros attempts to shoehorn sincerity into a script that can’t help sticking the pocketknife into other queer people at every turn.

Claims of inclusivity ring hollow when a mucosa resorts to tired stereotyping, and every supporting weft in Bros seems like a parody created by an AI bot that’s been fed on nothing but Twitter spiel and TikTok parody videos. It’s a mucosa lacking originality, but moreover heart – it’s nonflexible to root for a couple when you really don’t superintendency if they end up together or not. There are a couple of funny lines in the script, but running at just under two hours, Bros drags on, lacking the effervescence that has cemented many a rom-com’s in pop culture history.

When Bros’ box subsequent box office returns were disappointing, the team overdue the mucosa lambasted audiences on social media, claiming straight ambivalence was tanking the film. It would be easier to see this as a possible subtitle if Bros was a largest mucosa – instead its holier-than-thou script and the overall lack of romance in a romantic spectacle are increasingly likely reasons Bros didn’t set the US box office on fire. Queer love stories are every bit as individual as heterosexual ones, and we deserve to see them on screen, but can certainly aim a little higher than this smug, unsatisfying mismatch of ideas.

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The trailer doesn't requite much away. 3

A rom-com without the rom. 2


Directed by
Nicholas Stoller

Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane

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