TIFF: Eichner’s homosexual homage to the good American romcoms seems to be and feels precisely like them, and that is groundbreaking sufficient.
After 120 years, give or take, Hollywood lastly has a mainstream queer rom-com reply to movies like Nora Ephron’s “You’ve Acquired Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” Hell, it’s taken simply as lengthy to make a mainstream LGBTQ film that isn’t about ache and struggling or trauma or systemic homophobia. Enter screenwriter/star Billy Eichner and director Nicholas Stoller’s “Bros,” a snarky, fitfully raunchy meet-cute for the age of Grindr (or right here, a courting app cheekily referred to as Zellweger).
The precise breaking of floor is that the forged is top-to-toe homosexual, homosexual, homosexual… and that’s just about the place it stops. The screenplay’s contours are broadly typical, however that’s factor. After we speak about eager to be seen, quite a lot of us actually imply that what we wish is a homosexual model of our ’90s rom-coms when the style was at its finest. “Bros” matches the invoice.
Fusing his manic “Billy on the Avenue” persona with the extra self-deprecating misanthrope of his good Hulu sequence “Troublesome Folks,” Eichner performs rapier-witted, chronically single podcast host Bobby Leiber. The film instantly calls consideration to its personal slender window of privilege within the movie’s opening scenes when Bobby receives the award for “Cis White Homosexual Man of the 12 months.” Bobby is beloved for his unsentimental insights on queer tradition; he’s no “love is love is love” or “it will get higher” dispeller of maudlin pearls. “Love isn’t love,” he says at one level. “Homosexual males are totally different.”
Certainly, that launches “Bros” into its somewhat canny depiction of the lonely, cyclical particulars of homosexual male single life within the twenty first century, the “Hey, what’s up?” that’s texted forwards and backwards advert nauseam with out both celebration executing motion — or, the hookup begins and also you’re immediately underwhelmed by the person on the door who’s peeling off his shirt earlier than he makes eye contact.
Bobby is a kind of continual courting app customers. He’s pessimistic about his prospects, however hides his loneliness because the self-appointed authority on homosexual hookups and courting within the up to date world. All of that falls out of orbit when the muscly, exceptionally clean-cut proto-daddy Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) drops into view. Bobby seems completely of his depth whereas dancing/flailing one evening at a membership and meets-cute with Aaron, seemingly echelons out of his league.
To Bobby, Aaron is however a slab of vanilla man-candy who holds a dismal however profitable profession managing wills and estates. By some means, the unlikely pair sparks, and gives hope — not for the misanthropes like Bobby, who aren’t good 10s however land somebody as dreamy as Aaron, however for these like Aaron, who appear distant and untouchable however find yourself shocking you.
As they transfer from lust into one thing like love, the film makes an unfussy present in regards to the specific messy politics of homosexual intercourse. A scene by which Aaron asks Bobby to high him is horny and touching. Different signposts of the homosexual expertise embody a visit to Provincetown that springs various cheeky cameos, the threesomes and foursomes, and the eventual query of opening up the connection.
Issues take a darker flip right here, however “Bros” may be very a lot taken with being a rom-com with a cheerful ending somewhat than one thing edgier. That’s by design, as Eichner has firmly mentioned he was not making an attempt to make an “indie” movie right here. This can be a massive, shiny Hollywood bundle in mainstream garments — even regardless of the homosexual intercourse, which isn’t particularly graphic in any sense.
Eichner, who wrote the script with Stoller, has an ear for talky New York dialogue, and there are moments right here that teeter into Woody Allen-land as the town emerges as extra character than backdrop, and one which comes extra vibrantly to life as Aaron and Bobby begin to fall in love in it. Cinematographer Brandon Trost applies extra visible sense than you’d come to count on from the style, which regularly foregrounds content material over type. Eichner’s homosexual homage to the good American romcoms of yesterday seems to be and feels precisely like them, and that’s groundbreaking sufficient. We’ll take that any day over a film that tries too laborious to pander to homosexual audiences. This one simply hears and sees us.
“Bros” world-premiered on the Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant. It’s going to open from Common Footage on September 30.
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