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BROS (2022)  l  Universal Pictures Canada  |  September 30, 2022

Starring: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Ts Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Díaz

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Two men with commitment problems attempt a relationship.

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TIFF REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

Bros is an absolutely hilarious romantic comedy that captures everything that audiences have adored about the genre for years, while presenting the first gay romantic comedy that is a beautiful representation of the LGBQT+ community. 

 

Producer Judd Apatow and director Nicholas Stoller are infamous for the incredible comedies they have brought to the screen over the past two decades. But, their latest film that has them teaming with Billy Eichner is without a doubt their most monumental and moving film, and dare I say it, their best film to date. Marketed as the first gay romantic comedy from a major Hollywood studio, Bros tells the story of Eichner’s Bobby, a gay single man with commitment issues exploring a new relationship with Luke Macfarlane’s Aaron, who also has commitment issues. It is your typical romantic comedy setup, but told through the lens of a gay man in an extremely explicit way given Apatow and Stoller’s involvement. The result is a laughathon for nearly two hours as Eichner unleashes his unapologetic comedic styles while exploring the LGBQT+ experience. 

 

Sprinkled throughout the film are the hallmarks of a romantic comedy: the meet cute, a restaurant musical number, and the realization by our lead character that he is truly in love. But, unlike other romantic comedies, this one features multiple orgies, a museum exhibit explaining how Lincoln was actually a closeted gay and other LGBQT+ history lessons, an exuberant amount of references to Broadway musicals, and lots of snide remarks about straight people. Eichner and Stoller’s writing never misses the mark on the comedy, delivering laugh out loud moments for the entire film touching on a variety of different topics, while sprinkling in so many wonderful appearances from famous LGBQT+ actors such as Bowen Yang and Harvey Fierstein, or allies beloved by the LGBQT+ community like Debra Messing and Kristin Chenoweth. 

 

Where the writing truly soars is in the story the film is telling. This is not a Hollywood film where two gay characters have been placed in a romantic comedy that could have been led by a male and female actor. This is entirely a gay story that speaks to their lives styles, personal struggles, and community, which is something we do not see from a major studio in Hollywood. Representation matters, and while this film wraps up that representation in a raunchy R rated romantic comedy, the profound effect this film will have on so many peoples’ lives will not go unnoticed. Even sitting during the credits at the World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival waiting for the cast Q&A after the film, I heard multiple people in the audience saying how if they had seen this film as a teenager that it would have changed their lives, which is a gold seal of approval in my mind saying that Eichner and Stoller accomplished their mission. 

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It comes as no surprise, but the cast is brilliant and helps bring this wonderful story to life and will leave you dying of laughter. I have always enjoyed Eichner, and he is great as Bobby, a very opinionated gay man that reminds me a bit of Eichner in real life. This is Eichner’s film, and there is never a second where he is not cracking a great joke, while also finding the tenderness and vulnerability required to do this story justice. 

 

Opposite Eicher is Canada’s own Luke Macfarlane, and he is absolutely charming as Aaron. Macfarlane’s portrayal of Aaron’s struggles with not being happy in his own life and questioning of whether he is special enough to be dating Bobby is heartbreaking at every turn, helping to create an emotional undercurrent to the story that has you rooting for Bobby and Aaron to end up together, despite knowing that they will as this is a romantic comedy. Though, it is in his comedic talents where Macfarlane truly impressed me. It is not easy for anybody to keep up with Eichner’s comedic abilities and timing, but Macfarlance gives it his all and is a wonderful match for Eichner for the entire film. As a romantic couple, the two of them are absolutely adorable and you can feel the heat between the two of them as the story progresses and their characters begin to develop deep feelings for each other. 

 

And never failing to only heighten each moment of the film is a terribly funny supporting cast. With Eichner in charge of the film, he couldn’t pass on an opportunity to have an entirely LGBQT+ cast portraying not only LGBQT+ characters, but also all the straight characters, which only makes this film funnier. They are all wonderful, especially Dot-Marie Jones, Jim Rash, Miss Lawrence, TS Madison and Eve Lindley who starred as Bobby’s co-workers who consistently delivered some of the funniest moments of the film. 

 

While there will be people who hate this film because of the subject matter, this film is not made for them and it succeeds in doing exactly everything it set out to do. Painfully funny that left me dying of laughter for over two hours, Billy Eichner has crafted a truly beautiful, hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy that is not only a great romantic comedy but does a wonderful job of exploring gay relationships, making Bros not only the romantic comedy of the year but another classic for the genre!

RATING: 4.5 out of 5