Right off the top, there is a blurb going around in the marketing campaign for Bros that lays out the fact that this is the first gay romantic comedy to get a wide theatrical release by a major studio as well as the first starring an entirely LGBTQ cast. (the director, Nicholas Stoller as far as I’m aware is cismale, straight.) The film, if nothing else, is a pride banner of inclusivity. That being said, it’s easy for a movie with such precedence to not try that hard, to be devoid of worthwhile content. Things like a good script, believable characters played by competent actors, and something along the lines of a quality message get sacrificed in the name of progress, let’s say.
That’s not the case here though. For one, Judd Apatow is attached as an executive producer, and, like him or not, he’s careful about the kind of comedy he attaches his name to. Additionally, his name is nowhere to be found on the movie posters. Has he aged out of this movie's expected demographic? If not, you’re expecting a raunchy, mildly offensive comedy. Again though, Bros deviates from the Apatow brand.
My guess before going in, based on clips and posters alone, was that Bros would be light, irreverent fun. There are two lead gay characters, but the movie is not bogged down by that fact. I was reminded of Neighbors (a movie also directed by Nicholas Stoller) or the little-seen Trainwreck starring Amy Schumer (Ok, I submit, one Apatow-produced film that he also directs. The guy has his hand in a lot of things.)
My point is that it’s easy for a film like this to just sort of be bad or lack substance. That’s not the case. Bros is funny. It calls to mind great romantic comedies without satirizing them and retains a kind of cynicism or disbelief that enhances the tried and true formula instead of annihilating or dismantling it. It’s also more grounded in reality making the story more believable. And there’s the odd bit of social commentary squeezed into certain scenes that only someone like Billy Eichner can deliver. I also must emphasize that it is light. Very funny and light. With such lightness, you can include the occasional heartwarming or thought-provoking bit. You’ve earned the audience's respect.
Bros takes place partially in New York City, Eichner’s playground as Billy on the Street can attest. Billy plays Bobby, a gay bachelor with a history of one-night stands and awkward Grindr exchanges that have left him jaded and hungrier less for dating and more for his professional pursuits. It’s clear early in the film that Bobby is more enthused about his professional life than he is about his personal one.