The major studio rom-com is back with a flourish, but it took Billy Eichner and Nicholas Stoller to prove that the format still works, even if this time it’s two gay men who find love against all odds.
Despite brothers in fact, it’s making history as the first major studio movie with an all-LGBTQ lead cast, and the first to star and co-write an openly gay man, ultimately what he has to say about how hard it is to find the right person. perfect to spend your life with is truly universal. Do not misunderstand. Much of the humor in brothers it comes from situations and attitudes specific to gay culture, but you don’t have to be gay to laugh out loud at most.
It should be seen in a theater as I did tonight to a full house full of joy at the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and I can tell you I didn’t realize how long it’s been sitting in a movie . theater and laughed out loud so much. brothers It is the funniest movie of the year and one of the most heartfelt. She had forgotten that studios used to make comedies like this all the time. Maybe brothers can bring them back.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise as this isn’t Stoller’s first rodeo whose comedy credits include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five Year Engagement and others, and producer Judd Apatow, whose huge list of credits includes The 40-year-old virgin, Pregnant, The big sick, Train wreck and many more. He is also responsible for getting movies to be greenlit by major studios that became breakthroughs for many including Steve Carell, Amy Schumer, Pete Davidson, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, etc. Why not a gay man like Eichner who has a genuine movie star personality that is, well, irresistible coupled with a clearly sharp wit to add to that list? The jokes and endless pop culture references come at a hard-to-follow pace, delivered by an all-star cast that knows how to do it.
The basic premise has Bobby (Eichner) frustrated as he hits middle age and can’t find love. Visits to gay nightspots always end in disappointment and he just can’t catch a break, a man whose self-image can’t quite match the attractive men in the gym who seem to have all the action. His day job only accentuates his homosexuality as he attempts to open the first LGBTQ Museum of Natural History, but he has to deal with a board with personal connections to all those letters that he doesn’t seem to agree on much. In any case, one night on a crowded dance floor, he thinks he sees the “one”. That guy, Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) is the person his caustic friend Henry (Guy Branum) warns is boring, but Bobby soon finds out otherwise, but he’s frustrated that Aaron doesn’t seem to want to be in a relationship and it turns out it’s a relationship. . -phobic Finally, in classic rom-com style, they discover that they may need each other, that this could be real, but Bobby needs it more than Aaron. If you’ve ever seen a romantic comedy where opposites attract, you can telegraph where this is all headed, but getting there is all the fun.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with killer comedy talent, and the fact that this cast was chosen with all LGBTQ in mind for the most part not only makes it admirable, but it also makes sense when you see this ensemble. which is clearly as good as it gets. Eichner bursts onto the screen as a major comedic talent (but we knew that from his lovable lemur in The Lion King It is not like this?). Eichner knocks him out of the park, either by letting him snap at dinner with Aaron’s parents, or by lowering his voice several octaves to sound like a cool brother to other gym rats, or by going toe-to-toe with Debra Messing, who shows up. hysterical cameo playing with her will and grace character and frustration at being the real-world answer to gay men’s problems. That’s great, but there are so many that the hit-to-miss ratio here is really high. This is smartly written to the end, but not so smart that they can’t critique everything from Hallmark Christmas movies to Renee Zellweger.
Macfarlane is, you’ll pardon the expression, the straight man here, a perfect foil to Eichner’s somewhat manic Bobby, and the chemistry between them explodes. He is great. Branum gets a few choice observations to drop and steal scenes every time he shows up, the prankster friend you’ve always seen in these movies since Hollywood started making them decades ago. The LBGTQ museum board is priceless and includes Miss Lawrence, TS Madison, Jim Rash, Eve Lindley, and Dot-Marie Jones, who makes hay with some good lesbian jokes. Bowen Yang appears briefly during his stay in Provincetown when Bobby tries to get him to donate money to the museum, and Harvey Fierstein plays a gay friend who lets them stay at his house. The end of the movie also has some surprise cameos in one of those museum exhibits.
With a nod to some classic romantic comedies of the past (You’ve got mail seen directly) Marc Shaiman, who has composed scores for When Harry met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and many others offers the perfect music to put on brothers right in that league. He and Eichner wrote a fun original song, “Love Is Not Love,” which the latter delivers in a cheeky cowboy hat musical tip to “gay icon” Garth Brooks.
The producers are Apatow, Stoller and Josh Church. Universal releases it in about 3,000 theaters on September 30.
Thankfully, in making this “first” for studio rom-coms, these filmmakers haven’t rewritten the rules of the genre, but instead opened a locked door and found ways to make it new again.