Friday, July 12, 2024

Review: Billy Eichner’s Hilarious “Bros” Debuts in Toronto And May Make Garth Brooks a Gay Icon


Judd Apatow knows how to make gifted comedians into movie stars. He did with Amy Schumer and “Trainwreck,” and again with Pete Davidson and “The King of Staten Island.”

Now Apatow has produced Billy Eichner’s “Bros,” the first big studio broad gay comedy with an all LGBTQ cast that’s a rom com first. Hilarious and well made, “Bros” will also be an education for a lot of people.

Safe to say that at this point, nothing in “Bros” is an actual shock as Billy’s character of Bobby gets into a romantic seesaw with Luke McFarlane’s Aaron. Bobby is 40ish, funny, a podcaster and happy to be single (he has sex with guys he meets on apps). He doesn’t consider himself a player. Aaron is a hunk who spends a lot of time in the gym and admits to being boring.

Bobby is also, in the subplot, helping to launch an LGBTQ+ Museum in Manhattan. So needs the help of Aaron a probate and estates lawyer, to help raise the money.

That’s the basic set up. Along the way we meet a variety of LGBTQ+ folks, all extremely amusing and nothing at all like characters you’ve seen in past rom coms. But in many ways they are exactly the same, supporting the main players as they try to find themselves and each other.

The screenplay is peppered with Eichner’s pungent punchlines and one liners, set up jokes that land squarely each time. Director Nicholas Stoller and Apatow know how to construct a sturdy foundation so that Eichner can spout off on gender politics, etc and still keep the story moving briskly forward. The audience tonight at the Toronto Film Festival ate the whole thing up, and that’s what Universal Pictures is aiming for when “Bros” opens wide on September 30th.

Oh, yes: Garth Brooks may become a gay icon once “Bros” is released. McFarlane’s Aaron is a huge country music fan, especially Brooks’ music. This figures into the story when Bobby writes a song and performs it for him. The song, “Love is Not Love,” will likely be a Best Song nominee at next winter’s Oscars, sung by Eichner. Brooks would be smart to get in on this ASAP — a duet, maybe?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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