Billy Eichner in Fun but Limited Gay Rom-Com – The Hollywood Reporter

Funny, sweet and sometimes pointed, Nicholas Stoller’s Bros (written by Billy Eichner) is a gay romantic comedy film with a personality crisis. Although it made a lot of jokes at the expense of the types of companies that would choose gay culture for prestige or downplay it for straight consumption, it gradually revealed that it was almost identical. like every love story boys and girls have made money in the last thirty years. Described as satirical in TIFF literature and elsewhere, it’s anything but. Forget movies that want to force unrequited love into a heterosexual mode: Eichner wants his love story to be even more formulaic – to be Ephronormative.

That’s going to be exactly what many multiplexers want and what many of the show’s followers expect: Crazy fans Billy on the street and aptly named Annoying person it can be estimated that his love/hate relationship with trash pop culture is about 85% love, 15% disdain and self-loathing. And certainly the scarcity of mainstream/studio gay rom-coms makes one want to embrace Bros just for the sake of representation. But is it wrong to hope for something unfamiliar?


Key point

Entertaining, but less original than the original.

Location: Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentation)
Release date: September 30 (Universal Pictures)
Cast: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Guy Branum, Ryan Faucett, Miss Lawrence, Dr. Madison, Dot-Marie Jones
Manager: Nicholas Stroller
Writer: Billy Eichner, Nicholas Stoller

R-rated, 1 hour 55 minutes

Eichner (who, avoid it, proves perfectly equipped to be the lead of a movie) as Bobby, a podcaster with a fascination with gay history. Early on, he got his dream job, as the first director of a new museum about LGBTQ+ culture. His board meetings (the closest to which the film deals with satire, though they really aren’t) are a mild nightmare of identity-political controversy, for everyone. are worried that their part in the story won’t get the highlight it deserves.

Meanwhile, Bobby isn’t emotionally ready to go through a single life together that he tells himself is balanced: anonymous sex with men he doesn’t want to talk to, plus happy times with good friends he never slept with. Standing in a club full of writhing youths, he and his close friend Henry (Guy Branum), almost the only ones at the event wearing a shirt, complain about the people around them being stupid. stupid. Then they see Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a topless, ragged guy in a ball hat who comes to flirt but keeps disappearing whenever Bobby is about to go somewhere.

Aaron’s view of romance mirrors Bobby’s. But after a few “this isn’t a date” encounters, including one that ended up as an awkward quartet, the two had a fight that turned heated and eventually led to real caress. The second or third song could be in When did Harry meet Sally plays quietly in the background and you know, a no-nonsense montage involving Central Park and the Christmas tree isn’t far off. (It doesn’t stop at needle drops: Bros Composer Marc Shaiman arranged the music for When did Harry meet Sally also.)

The banter between the two men remains comical throughout the first half, with Bobby snapping mock shots of Aaron’s fondness for cannibalism in music, movies, and men. But of course, Aaron’s attraction to the exercise rats that made the tall but energetic Bobby was also uneasy. And he acted, ruining his first day with Aaron’s visiting parents by turning their tourist visit into a non-stop lecture on gay history.

Eager to explain about the chip on the shoulder about to destroy this relationship, the screenplay now says more than it shows. A long, emotional monologue near the beach in Provincetown (right after Bowen Yang makes an amusing appearance) gets the job done, showing Eichner can act and broadcast life’s worth of outrage Bobby’s life when he was told he was too “pretentious” to be successful. But some of the other points tend to be sensational as well, which sounds particularly upbeat as the screenwriters have proven they can understand many of these points while still being funny.

For a film so outspoken (but not so gratuitously) about man, man and man-man-man sex, it’s Stoller’s in particular. forget Sarah Marshall there’s more penis in there than this movie. Presumably, some execs have taken note of how a gay movie can be and still be shown in 3,000 theaters. It is possible that the moderators themselves inspired the mockery at the beginning of the film.

But the clothes need not worry. Bros pervaded mainstream popular culture, with expressions running to him and utterly absurd public statements about love, that it will never alienate anyone but his fellow men. count. Bobby is right to complain that “love is love” is a bogus PR slogan for gay acceptance; It’s something that no one who’s been in love with more than once should say with a straight face (sorry). But when it comes to rom-coms, a love story is a love story. They’re nearly the same, nearly all of them fake, even when their fake tells something true or when they have enough charm to make you spend your life trying to believe them.

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