Luke Macfarlane (left) and Billy Eichner star in “Bros.” Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (UPI) — brothers, in theaters September 30, is a sweet and heartwarming romantic comedy. Co-writer and star Billy Eichner subversively weaves LGBTQ history into the plot so the audience learns something while laughing.
Bobby Lieber (Eichner) is a podcast host who lands a job running the LGBTQ+ Museum in New York. Bobby goes online with Grindr but gives up dating.
At a party, Bobby meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), another serial bachelor. Despite an abrasive reunion, they meet again but are reluctant to officially date.
Straight rom-coms could learn something from brothers. Two people together is enough. You don’t need any higher conceptual shenanigans than that.
But, the whole point of brothers it’s that it’s not just the same heteronormative romantic comedy with two men at the helm. It’s unique to the gay male experience, though fairly universal to anyone who’s in love.
Bobby’s meetups on Grindr are fun and the frustration is real for anyone who uses any app to meet people. brothers it also has the characters deliver their text messages in voiceover, effectively conveying the insincerity of the format.
It’s good to see a romantic comedy where straight women are the supporting characters. Gay best friends have certainly paid their dues.
brothers it allows Bobby and Aaron to be sexual, both comedic and genuinely romantic. This is an R-rated comedy and one that’s as much for passion as it is for F-bombs.
In his work at the museum, Bobby wants to shine a light on gay love stories that have been erased throughout history. As such, the movie itself tells many of those historical gay stories.
Audiences can laugh at Bobby and Aaron’s conversations, or unique jokes about fake Hallmark Channel movies or podcast sponsors. Along the way, they will learn about Abraham Lincoln’s bisexuality.
A monologue that Bobby tells Aaron about the resistance he faced to his gay expression sounds autobiographical. It is also universal because everyone with a single point of view is pressured to maintain the status quo.
And Bobby/Eicher is right that it still took too long for this. It is a victory that we now have movies like Brothers, island of fire, happiest season and others, but it’s also okay to feel a little exhausted fighting for representation and knowing there’s still more work to do.
To his credit, Eichner lets Bobby screw up. Not on LGBTQ issues but on his occasional lack of compassion for Aaron. There is room for both to grow.
not all in brothers it’s so organic. It’s a bit too simple when both Bobby and Aaron are fully aware that they’re emotionally unavailable, as the emotionally unavailable are usually much more in denial about it.
Like most films produced by Judd Apatow, brothers it’s about 20 minutes too long. A romantic comedy is still a 90-minute story, even if it’s boy meets boy instead of boy meets girl.
And the parts that feel the longest aren’t the comedic parts. Since the formula inevitably heads toward its conclusion, that’s the part that warrants a little more fuss.
Bobby’s museum staff has perhaps too many supporting characters. However, each of them are good LGBTQ actors who deserve to be in the spotlight.
The opening introduction to Bobby is also a bit rough. He’s narrating his podcast and essentially giving all the exposition on his character.
That introduction facilitates a good part of Bobby refusing to write a gay rom-com, when we’re about to see the rom-com that Eichner co-wrote with director Nicholas Stoller. He astutely points out that it’s not enough to just give LGBTQ people the same stories because their stories are different, and brothers proceeds to prove it.
So brothers not the perfect LGBTQ rom-com, but if all rom-coms could be it happened one night (either jeffrey) would stop trying to do more. brothers is a good date movie that can spark dinner conversations in audiences of any orientation.
Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI Entertainment Writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012. Read more of his work in Entertainment.