Bros pairs a self-righteous museum curator (Billy Eichner) with a musclebound lawyer (Luke Macfarlane). They fight, banter and gradually fall in love. The story is familiar. What sets Bros apart from other queer romcoms is the sharp social commentary. Eichner has a lot to say about toxic masculinity, internalized homophobia, Gen-X trauma and the state of queer American culture. It would be too much if it wasn’t so funny.
Eichner’s cranky persona is familiar. But he shows more range and vulnerability here than he did on three seasons of Difficult People. Macfarlane’s given complexity and agency that his Hallmark roles have lacked. He grounds the film and gives it a heart. Many queer romcoms take for granted that the leads belong together. Bros understands that they’re not an ideal match. The attraction is there but they’ll have to work to make things last.
Bros has been hailed as the first gay romcom by a major studio. But Eichner stuffs it with cameos and references to the queer entertainers who came before him. The most interesting subplot involves the opening of an LGBTQ history museum. Eichner’s part of a diverse committee who resent his cis white influence. Their debates about representation mirror the larger conversation the movie is having with queer media.
The film is more com than rom. But it left me with a new appreciation for the rapid progress LGBTQ folk have made in the past few decades. And the reminder that we must hold fiercely to every scrap of it.