The year’s best comedy reminds us of how much we’ve missed the genre’s footprint in movie theaters.
Long before the pandemic, the number of comedies given theatrical releases was in a steady decline. While it was detailed in a must-read piece published last week, think about it. When was the last time you sat in a movie theater with a full house watching a comedy and laughing out loud? While viewers have benefited from comedy via streaming services over the past couple of years, few escapades match the communal experience of seeing a great comedy with a crowd full of strangers in a dark room. The occurence is one of the most sorely missed events in the ever-changing landscape of Hollywood. But thank God for Billy Eichner and company giving the genre the boost it needs with Bros. Not only is Bros the best comedy in recent memory, but it is also one of the year’s best films.
Bros tells the story of Bobby (Eichner), a museum curator opening the first LGBTQ+ museum on a national scale, who feels hopeless in his quest to find love at the age of 40. That changes when he meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a “macho” lawyer who helps people with their wills. Even though Bobby and Aaron are complete opposites, they fall for one another, despite their self-doubts and their apprehensions about one another. As one might expect, we watch their relationship go through the valleys of highs and lows, and we see how complicated love really is.
Bros has all the trademarks of a great Judd Apatow-produced comedy (and that list goes on and on), including a great cast of characters who are all funny, a sincere story, and, of course, plenty of humor that will have you on the verge of tears. But what makes Bros one of the best films ever associated with Apatow is all its well-written characters, thanks to a terrific script from Eichner and director Nichola Stoller. And that’s especially noteworthy considering that Bros is the first romantic comedy from a major studio with a principal cast that is entirely made up of the LGBTQ+ community to have a theatrical release. It also doesn’t hurt that, like the entire film itself, these characters are all pretty damn funny.
Now that I mention it, Bros features some of the best jokes and laugh-out-loud moments in a comedy in recent years. Viewers often will find themselves chuckling during character interactions that show people taking jabs at each other or when a character discusses public perception of the stereotypical views of the LGBTQ+ community; they also may find themselves laughing at how often Abraham Lincoln is brought up in the film. Bros’ look at modern dating through dating apps is also quite funny and thankfully not a main focus of the film, which we have seen more often in romantic comedies in recent years. However, there is one scene involving the two main characters (which won’t be spoiled here), that is side-splittingly hilarious, and one that will be remembered by its viewers long after the credits roll. Seeing this moment in a theater surrounded by strangers is worth the price of admission alone.
It’s difficult not to like Eichner, whose previous roles in TV’s Parks and Recreation and Billy on the Street have made him one of the funniest people currently working in Hollywood. And Bros is a showcase for how talented he is as he turns in one of the year’s best performances as Billy; don’t be surprised if he gets some awards conversation as the season approaches. And Luke Macfarlane is just as good as Eichner in the role of Aaron, and his profile will likely skyrocket thanks to this film following his performances as the romantic lead in several Hallmark Channel movies. The supporting cast, which includes names like Jim Rash, Ts Madison, Guy Branum, Harvey Fierstein, and Bowen Yang, is funny top to bottom.
Memorable romantic comedies are few and far between these days, which is what makes Bros a must-see in theaters. It isn’t often you find yourself smiling after watching a film in the current landscape where we leave the theater cold after watching a drama or want to rest our eyeballs after watching the 80th visual-effects-heavy superhero film to come out in any given year. Modern comedies this crowd-pleasing are worth celebrating and seeing in a full theater – even if you don’t know who’s in the seat next to you, which is just fine as long as you’re both laughing at what’s on screen.