The Trouble With Bros

Come closer – I want to share a secret with you.  Don’t tell anyone I told you, but everyone who is funny wants to be pretty, and everyone who is pretty wants to be funny.  The second part isn’t always true – because if you’re pretty, you probably don’t care if you’re funny.  And then there’s Bros – which is definitely funny, but not always pretty.  I think Billy Eichner is wildly talented and outrageously funny.  He is, in essence, the film’s biggest asset…and biggest liability.  An industry insider told me that for a theatrically released rom-com to work, the lead has to be a big name or fuckable.  “And nobody considers Billy Eichner fuckable,” continued the source.  And I don’t say that as a bad thing.  I am probably not considered “fuckable” – certainly not for a wide opening (with the exception of some Jewish holidays).  As a performer, you simply have to know your brand.  Take Kathy Griffin.  She’s hysterically funny.  And, at times, not bad to look at.  But she’s not going to be cast as the lead in a rom-com.  The best friend?  Yes.  The caustic sidekick?  Sure.  A romantic lead?  Nope. 

That’s not to say Bros isn’t funny or entertaining or appealing.  It is all of those things – but first you’ve got to get people to buy a ticket.  And the marketing campaign didn’t help.  Billy spent most of his interviews talking about how historic it was – a major theatrically released film with a gay lead and an entirely gay cast.  Alas, that doesn’t sell tickets.  Harvey Fierstein echoed this point.  “Is this a history lesson or a movie?  I didn’t think it was smart.”  It’s been noted that Eichner has made his name by not being particularly likeable.  Again, not a bad thing.  He’s done very well with this persona – everyone loves a bitchy queen.  Especially one as quick-witted as Billy.  When the film opened, the gays showed up.  Like all rom-coms, it gave average people hope that a Luke Macfarlane would fall for them!  But here’s the $5 million question (which is what the film brought in opening weekend) – how many of them thought, “Where can I find me a Billy Eichner?”  Hands?  I rest my case.  I predict it will do HUGE numbers on streaming – much to Eichner’s chagrin.


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