Two New York men with commitment issues attempt a relationship, but their own insecurities threaten to prevent anything long-term from developing. Yes, Bros is a big studio gay rom-com, a rarity that would have been cause for celebration thirty years ago. Today, not so much. The film is written by Billy Eichner and Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), with Stoller also directing and Eichner starring in the lead role. Eichner’s abrasive personality is — let’s be kind — an acquired taste that may keep some viewers from connecting with the film. While the film pokes plenty of healthy fun at the LGBTQ community, it never feels unburdened by self-imposed political correctness. There are only a small handful of moments in which Eichner and co-star Luke Macfarlane start to act like two human beings without the weight of socio-political representation hanging around their shoulders.
Bros wants to be groundbreaking and a cause for celebration, but even if you strip away its self-imposed problems, it’s really just another rom-com underneath, with several of the genre’s trappings. (Beware the obligatory second act breakup and climactic reunion.) Any rom-com is only as good as its characters. We have to love them and want to root for them. Unfortunately, Eichner’s not easy to love, and it’s hard to believe he’d ever catch a hunk like Macfarlane. Some of the film’s more effective moments address this odd pairing, with Eichner’s character revealing insecurity about his body. Those moments feel real. Most of the others, including all the scenes with the museum committee and all the ones in which Eichner feels obliged to preach to the audience, feels a lot more like someone’s forced fantasy.
With Amanda Bearse, Debra Messing, and a welcome appearance from Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy).