In the romantic comedy Bros, Bobby (Billy Eichner) recently expanded his career as a LGBTQ+ history podcast host into lead curator of the first major LGBTQ+ museum in New York. After a meet-cute of sorts with not-his-usual-type Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), Bobby struggles to pair his feelings with his self-described permanently single lifestyle.
Written by Eichner and longtime comedy veteran Nicholas Stoller, and directed by Stoller, Bros toes the line between genuine moments of sweetness and acerbically cutting sarcastic wit. Modes of relationships differ, and Bros is comfortable in highlighting those differences for all their joys and faults.
Where the film truly succeeds is in its ability to deftly balance universal experience with individuality. While there are obviously commonalities between the romantic experiences of gay and straight people across gender identities, or even more narrowly between cis white men as a subcategory, the diversity of specific experience is critical to Eichner’s script, as even within narrow categories there are vastly varied modes of interaction, openness, and perspective. Of course, finding shared experience and opening oneself up to be surprised by those who fall outside of our initial expectations is a common trope in romantic comedies, but Eichner and Stoller’s script is inventive enough to expand the trope in entertaining ways, and Macfarlane brings depth of performance to a character that could otherwise fall into cliché.
Ultimately, Bros is a genuinely funny movie with nuanced emotional heft. It’s a refreshing and vulnerable take on the genre from a perspective so rarely seen in Hollywood filmmaking and a reminder of the joy and laughter that’s there to be found in the chaotic minutia of human relationships if we’re open to finding it. R, 115 min.