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TIFF Review: The Bromance is Real in “Bros”

Written by: Christopher Llewellyn Reed | September 22nd, 2022

Film poster: “Bros”

Bros (Nicholas Stoller, 2022) 3 out of 4 stars.

A delightful rom-com featuring an LGBTQ+ cast, Bros may not reinvent the conventions of the genre but at least populates itself with wholly engaging characters. Billy Eichner (truTV’s Billy on the Street series) stars as Bobby Leiber, podcaster extraordinaire and happily single gay fortysomething New Yorker. The film follows his trajectory from cynical misanthrope to lovestruck member of a cute couple with all the expected bumps on the road. Many good laughs are had along the way. This is a movie that knows what it wants to be and does a great job fulfilling that role.

Right after he receives the Cis White Gay Man of the Year Award (ha ha), Bobby is named director of the country’s first LGTBQ+ museum. It’s a role that comes with its share of burdens, number one among them the fact that no one on the executive committee—representing different constituencies within the museum’s acronym—can agree on anything. But that particular torment pales in comparison when Bobby falls for a man who is exact opposite in every way.

l-r: Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner in BROS ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy of TIFF

That would be Aaron (Luke Macfarlane, Single All the Way), a hunky jock who impresses Bobby with his muscles (they meet at a club where Aaron is shirtless). There’s more to Aaron than working out, though (which is good, since that is definitely not Bobby’s forte), and even if he finds Bobby intellectually intimidating, they are soon hooking up. True, that first sexual encounter is within a foursome, but who’s counting?

It turns out that they actually kind of like each other (imagine that), and so then the question becomes whether two such actively independent men can find bliss in each other’s arms … without too many other arms needed (we are talking about gay men, after all, as the film makes abundantly clear, where consensual nonmonogamy or group play is fairly common). Both Eichner and Macfarlane are perfect in their roles and perfect foils for each other.

l-r: Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner in BROS ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy of TIFF

The rest of the ensemble is equally fine, including the great Harvey Fierstein (Hairspray Live!), Dot-Marie Jones (Rag Doll), TS Madison (Zola), Jim Rash (Bernard and Huey), Bowen Yang (The Lost City), and a very funny cameo from Will & Grace’s Debra Messing. In the midst of all the romantic misadventures, director Nicholas Stoller (Storks)—who co-wrote the film with Eichner—makes plenty of time for positive statements about inclusion and diversity (even if people of color are still mostly used as comic relief) without ever devolving into exposition. If you like your rom-coms both traditional and modern, Bros is most definitely for you.

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Christopher Llewellyn Reed is a film critic, filmmaker, and educator. A member of both the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), as well as a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, he is Managing Editor at Film Festival Today; lead film critic at Hammer to Nail; formerly the host of the award-winning Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed, from Dragon Digital Media; and the author of Film Editing: Theory and Practice. In addition, he is a former cohost of The Fog of Truth, a podcast devoted to documentary cinema.

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