September 19, 2022

CINEMA | A Big Gay Rom-Com – Billy Eichner 'Bros' Out x TIFF 2022

"We had AIDS. They had Glee."
Billy Eichner Luke Macfarlane Nicholas Stoller | Bros Movie
Toronto International Film Festival
Comedian Billy Eichner (also a co-writer) takes a stab at injecting a much-needed dose of homosexuality and queerness into the well-worn romantic comedy formula in Bros. Co-writer/director Nicholas Stoller adheres surprisingly closely to familiar rom-com conventions with some refreshing LGBTQ+ twists like our current dating app hookup culture.

Produced by comedy gatekeeper Judd Apatow, there's the same heartfelt sweetness mixed with trademark raunchiness he's known for. Co-starring Canadian actor and perennial Hallmark Channel star Luke Macfarlane as Eichner's very bro-y love interest, we invest in their intitial superficially unconventional relationship before it slowly becoming more and more traditionally couple-y despite reluctance from both of them.

Amusingly enough, every significant role is portrayed by an openly queer or trans performer including the straight or cis characters for a clever twist on the usual Hollywood casting. Evidently, Bros is the first studio comedy about and starring openly gay leads. It might even be too funny with so many hilarious one-liners that detract from the romance part.

Stoller and Eichner (as a leading man) make Bros a winning mainstream romantic comedy with enough explicitly LGBTQ+ trappings to keep things fresh and interesting. While the jokes are razor sharp and often uproariously laugh-out-loud hilarious, the more traditional rom-com elements show their age when adapted to a more progressive and diverse lens. Nonetheless, Bros stands by most worthy efforts in the well-worn genre stereotypically aimed at straight white cis women and gay men.

Bros premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Special Presentations program.

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