Review | ‘Bros’ delivers as a mainstream gay romantic comedy

Bros | Dir: Nicholas Stoller | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

“Love is love” according to the slogan that managed to get homophobic straight people to vote for marriage equality for gay populations in many countries around the world, but Bobby Leiber (Billy Eichner) disagrees.

Describing himself as a 40 year-old “cis white gay man” who has never been in love, Bobby thinks that it is different for gay men, and his life doesn’t have to follow the Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail formulas.

The native New Yorker has a full life with his successful podcasts, a huge group of close friends and plenty of casual sex thanks to Grindr. Also chairing a diverse team of people (allowing the film to include half a dozen hilarious LGBTQ+ stereotypes) who are hoping to establish a LGBTQ+ museum in the city, he boasts that he is emotionally unavailable.

As the title suggests, keeping things casual works for him and he wants to remain “horny and selfish” even though his friends are settling into marriage with kids or throuples. What he hasn’t taken into account is making eye contact with super buff lawyer Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) across a crowded nightclub dance floor.

With neither man looking for a serious relationship, the mismatched pair try to find a balance between flirting and being cool. This results in numerous funny encounters as well as a couple of cringe-worthy situations and several attempts at group sex – which are both funny and cringe-worthy.

Of course, with all good rom-coms, the heart of the drama exposes the issues that have been hiding in plain view – including the emphasis of body image that result in either self-loathing or obsession for perfection; the fear of intimacy (Bobby laments that he grew up with exposure to AIDS and the younger generation have grown up with Glee) and even internalised homophobia.

Touted as the first major studio picture featuring an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast, this romantic comedy manages to expose disastrous heterosexual attempts at portraying gay culture while following the well-trodden path of other rom-coms without playing it straight.

Lezly Herbert

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