The Bros early reviews are in and they for are in, and they unanimously praise the LGBTQ+ rom-com’s humor, even while they acknowledge the film isn’t bringing much new to the storytelling of the genre. Bros, which is coming to theaters on September 30, was produced by Judd Apatow and helmed by Neighbors director Nicholas Stoller. The film stars Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane as two gay men whose commitment-phobia provides a huge obstacle to them getting together.
While Bros sounds very much like the type of comedy one might expect from Apatow and his camp, it is also groundbreaking for Hollywood representation. In addition to being one of very few wide-release gay rom-coms, it is the first of its kind to feature an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast, including in straight roles. The ensemble cast around Eichner and Macfarlane, who are both out gay men, includes Married… with Children star Amanda Bearse, Lie to Me‘s Monica Raymund, Zola‘s Ts Madison, Scandal‘s Guillermo Díaz, Talk Show the Game Show‘s Guy Branum, Community‘s Jim Rash and SNL cast member Bowen Yang.
Today, the first Bros reviews have dropped, following the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Generally, critics have found themselves agreeing that the film is funny and charming. However, quite a few of them point out that the movie’s groundbreaking casting doesn’t prevent it from being a fairly boilerplate story with nothing really new to bring to the table. Check out quotes from selected critics below:
Peter Debruge, Variety:
The difference in what we’ll call “Billy Eichner’s Hollywood Screen Kiss” is that it centers a gay character, instead of just using him as sassy comic support. Beyond that, a cute, cranky, super-articulate and incredibly self-absorbed comedian has gone and made a movie in which a thinly veiled version of himself wrestles with whether or not he wants to be in a relationship. If that sounds like every Woody Allen movie ever, or a bunch of Billy Crystal movies, or even the last few Judd Apatow productions, you wouldn’t be wrong.
John Defore, THR:
Bros is so steeped in mainstream pop culture, with its run-to-him epiphanies and utterly implausible public declarations of love, that it was never going to alienate anybody but homophobes. Bobby is right to complain that “love is love” is a bogus PR slogan for gay acceptance; it’s something nobody who’s been in love more than once should say with a straight (sorry) face. But when it comes to rom-coms, a love story is a love story. They’re nearly all the same, nearly all phony, even when their phoniness is saying something true or when they have enough charm that you spend your life trying to believe them.
Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist:
But, as it goes along, there is a sense of something missing, especially in the latter half of the picture. You wish the film had a slightly more queer eye behind the camera… Even for a major studio production, it might have helped. But if everyone around you is laughing, maybe it doesn’t matter. It probably means another “Bros” gets made, which, hey, wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.
Marya E. Gates, Roger Ebert:
And it really is great to see a mainstream Hollywood film of this magnitude with this kind of representation from throughout the LGBTQ community. However, it defeats its own message of bringing queer history and queer life out of the margins when it centers the love story between two cis, conventionally attractive white gay men.
Pete Hammond, Deadline:
I can tell you I didn’t realize how long it has been that I have sat in a movie theatre and laughed out loud this much. Bros is the funniest film of the year – and one of the most heartfelt. I had forgotten that studios used to make comedies like this all the time. Maybe Bros can bring them back.
There is a lot of attention on Bros because of its groundbreaking casting approach, and its success in the box office will likely be a determining factor in the way major studios approach LGBTQ+ inclusion for the next several years. Some may not find that a fair burden to place on a single film, especially considering the way that the success of the 2018 LGBTQ+ teen film Love, Simon didn’t result in an avalanche of big-studio projects. However, for minority filmmakers, stars, and storylines, a single misstep can quickly become a huge step backward in the eyes of Hollywood.
The Bros early reviews seem similar to what might be heard about any comedy coming out of the Apatow camp, which speaks to the fact that they imbued the film with their typical comedy stylings, LGBTQ+ cast or not. While that sense of humor doesn’t appeal to everyone, there is no denying the fact that Apatow-produced films have a habit of making money and that, so far, every single Stoller-directed film (including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek) has earned a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes so far. While it will likely face some competition in its opening weekend from the horror film Smile, there is a high chance the movie will perform well given these reviews and its overall publicity.
Source: Various (See above)