In Bros, Bobby Lieber is a 40-year-old radio show/podcast host, living in New York. Bobby is gay, single, and like many queer men in the city, he is trying to navigate his way through his career and the head-scratching world of dating apps.

In addition to his work producing content for his shows, Bobby has also accepted a new position as a curator for the world’s first LGBTQ+ History Museum. The museum – which is located in Manhattan – will look at the history of the queer community, with a specific focus on icons and pioneers.

Now, while this is more than enough to keep Bobby busy, he still finds himself longing to make a romantic connection with a guy. Online dating just isn’t working for him and it all seems to be more hassle than it is worth.

But things begin to change on the romantic front, when Bobby goes to a nightclub and meets Aaron. The pair start talking, and while they don’t quite hit it off straight away, there is some kind of chemistry between the two and the potential for something more.

Over the next few days, Bobby and Aaron reconnect and after a short while a relationship begins to form. However, like all relationships, things don’t run smoothly and soon both Bobby and Aaron have to work out if they are really meant to be together.

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Directed and co-written by Nicholas Stoller, Bros stars Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane. The movie is an LGBTQ+ romantic comedy, which is currently playing in US cinemas, and will arrive in the UK on October 28th.

The movie is a smart, sharp, and witty take on a traditional rom-com, but the unique selling point here is the film is told from a queer perspective. And unlike some other LGBTQ+ romantic comedies, this one is very open with its characters and subject matter, resulting in a frank, refreshing, and completely unapologetic discussion of queer dating.

The film looks at the highs and lows of romance, while exploring some of the challenges faced on the gay dating scene. It looks at the way that two people deal with their own differences and insecurities, while trying to remain true to themselves and each other.

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Although the movie zeroes in on two characters in particular, Bros is largely told from the perspective of Bobby, who is an outspoken and very funny guy. The picture uses Bobby’s humorous dialogue to make endless comments and observations about the LGBTQ+ community, and makes no excuse for the conversations he has.

To be clear: This movie doesn’t pussyfoot around with its dialogue, its characters, or its content. This is a queer film about queer dating, which is as upfront and honest about the scene as possible, to give all audiences (LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ alike) the same experience.

Of course, the film doesn’t represent all queer people and not everyone thinks or acts in the same way as the characters seen in this movie (you don’t need to write in and tell me). However, Bros does represent some corners of the community, and there will be audiences who feel the material is very reflective of them and their experiences.  

On a side note, the film is about a 40-year-old gay guy, living in a city, who is dating. I am a 40-year old gay guy, who lives in a city and who did date in the past (I’m now married), so based on my experiences, I feel this movie is quite accurate in its conversations and discussions.

In terms of its material then, Bros certainly strikes the right chord, and with its two leads both being openly gay (one of whom co-wrote the movie), the film comes from an authentic place. It also helps that it is filled with bit-parts and cameos for various queer actors and queer icons (Harvey Fierstein, Dot-Marie Jones, Debra Messing, etc), to ensure this is very much a gay rom-com.

Why does this matter? Because as Bros notes numerous times throughout the movie, there are other studios out there who release queer rom-coms which are token offerings and nothing more. These films seem to exist as box-ticking exercises and usually skirt round their subject matter, so they can appeal to mainstream audiences without pissing anyone off.

Bros isn’t like this. This film isn’t queer-baiting the LGBTQ+ community; it is providing a fully-fledged gay romance, with everything that can include. If this isn’t for you that’s fine, but it isn’t hiding behind tokenism.

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Now, as much as I like Bros, and I do like Bros very much, I do think it suffers a little bit from an over abundance of humour. This may seem like an odd thing for anyone to say about a comedy, but I can explain.

While Bobby – as played by Billy Eichner – is very funny in Bros, and he produces some of the best laughs in the movie, sometimes he fires off too many gags. There are times during the course of Bros where his scenes feel less like sequences in a film and more like parts of a stand-up routine.

I like stand-up comedy as much as the next person, but not in a movie. The relentlessness of some of his dialogue does become a touch tiring.

I do wish that either Eichner, the script, or perhaps both, held back from time-to-time, as I found myself getting a bit exhausted by his constant sarcasm. Yes, I know this sounds strange, but I like a comedy which leaves me wanting more, not one that has me requesting a breather.

I get the impression that some of the lines were ad-libbed or workshopped during the shoot, which is why some of the dialogue goes on a bit longer than it should. I can’t help but feel a bit of editing would have been beneficial, as not every line needs to be in the cut.

But the above criticism aside, Bros is a bold, hilarious picture, which has a contemporary approach, and is not afraid to express itself. There will be cross-sections of the population who won’t give it the time of day, and judging by its underperformance at the US box office this is already quite apparent, but it is a good movie nonetheless.

Image: ©Universal Pictures
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Queer rom-coms are often watered-down affairs if they get a mainstream release, or they get relegated to a niche streaming service or video-on-demand platforms, so it is great to see one such as Bros being given a fair crack at the whip. Not only is the movie able to speak its mind, it is also able to play in multiplexes alongside the likes of Smile, Halloween Ends, and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, and this is a positive step forward for other queer stories.

Yes, the film will be initially judged by its box office results, and if it struggles to perform in the UK (and other territories) as it has in the US, this could put a dampener on other LGBTQ+ movies in the future, but it doesn’t change Bros from being a worthwhile watch. It’s here, it’s queer, and in the fullness of time I’ve no doubt that it’ll find its audience – and hopefully this is you.

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