Judd Apatow is not the most sensitive of directors, his brand of comedy often throwing political correctness out the window and seeing it crash alongside the sounds of frat-style back-clapping and hoon laughter. You only need to look at box-office hits like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Trainwreck to realise his flippant regard toward sexuality and sobriety.
Putting money where his mouth is, Apatow is an even more frivolous producer, with investments in the likes of ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘The Big Sick’ and the ‘Anchorman’ franchise bringing home the box office bucks in the name of shamelessness and slapstick.
So, when Apatow puts his name to a film packed with LGBTQIA+ sensitivities, such as the new-to-theatres Bros, one wonders what the feedback from LGBTQIA folk is going to be. Sure, the man is only a co-producer on this flick but it certainly holds the same ‘lad’ like vibes as the rest of his outré oeuvre.
As an out and proud gay man myself, I actually think the film is fabulous.
Its protagonist, Bobby Lieber – a podcaster who dishes out his rather harsh opinions on all things queer – is about as politically incorrect as said co-producer is. If the gays love going to the gym and attending white parties in nothing but their tighty-whities, Lieber is going to have a bitch about it. As for the notion of true love, and whether it exists in the twisted labyrinth that is queer culture, Lieber has a lot to critique on this matter, too.
But when our protagonist finally finds someone to challenge his notions and break his icy exterior (and he being one of those gym-addicted club-going gay types), Lieber himself is subjected to some surprising warm and fuzzy feelings – which put a spin on his confidence as the world’s greatest cynical queen.
Lieber’s new lover is played amicably by Luke Macfarlane, an actor renowned for his hetero romantic leads in many daytime Hallmark movies. This lends a challenge to the actor; while breaking down the attitude of his lover onscreen also lends a challenge to his character. Kudos, then, to Macfarlane for succeeding on both parts.
While Bros does a good job of injecting some much-needed ‘lad’ culture into queer culture (personally, I think it helps toughen up a poof), it also tacitly critiques the concept of ‘inclusiveness’ in the LGBTQIA+ community, making me wonder if all those initials are ultimately dividing us into warring tribes. A clear example of this is when Lieber is at a brainstorming session at work and is having to argue semantics with a variety of characters including trans, bi and lesbian.
On that note, Bros is a film for anyone who idealises love. It not only proves that love conquers all differences, but that falling in love is a heck of a lot more fun than being critical and hate-laden.
‘Bros’ is in cinemas now.