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Bromantic comedy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bromantic comedy is a comedy film genre that takes the formula of the typical "romantic comedy" but focuses on close male friendships.[1][2]

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Bromance, a word that blends the words "brother" and "romance", can be defined as a "close nonsexual friendship between men".[3][4] A bromantic comedy finds humor in reversing the formula of the typical "romantic comedy". In the film Knocked Up, it is not the man and woman that have the romantic chemistry, but the two men. In I Love You, Man, it is not the man and woman (the bride and groom) of the story who fall in love, break up, and then are reunited romantically at the end—but the two male leads.[2] Bromantic comedy films present expressions of male intimacy, while humorously poking fun of the characters' fears of being homosexual.[5][6]

The "slovenly hipster" protagonists of the bromantic comedy usually are not mature and are lacking in ambition. They are "beta males" that are into porn and junk food, but they are forced to grow up when they discover "straight arrow" women, children and responsibility.[7] It is a story of "the dissolution of a male pack, the ending of a juvenile male bond," according to David Denby in The New Yorker.[8]

Bromantic comedies contain the concept of a "code" between men: "bros before hos". The idea is that the bonds between men are more significant, stronger, deeper and based on mutual understanding, whereas the bonds between a man and a woman can be capricious, shallow and less satisfying. So, if a man leaves his male friends for a woman, he will eventually be dumped, abandoned, betrayed, and/or dominated. This may be too dark for comedy, so bromantic comedies deal with misogyny with tentativeness.[5] There is often an element in the plot that allows the men to go off on their own, away from the women. Examples of this are the "man cave" of I Love You, Man, or the "mancation" of The Hangover.[2][9]

According to film scholar Timothy Shary in Millennial Masculinity: Men in Contemporary American Cinema, a number of films in this genre, like Wedding Crashers, provide a surprising level of bisexuality for its male characters, and a place for more diversified male relationships to exist.[10]

Shakespeare's play, Love's Labour's Lost, provides, in its opening passage,[11] a comedic prototype for the idea of men agreeing to a "code" to sequester themselves and avoid romance with the opposite sex.[12][13]

Judd Apatow is a prominent director of the bromantic comedy genre. His films The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005),[9][14] and Knocked Up (2007) paved the way for a surge of similar films that were released in the mid-late 2000s.[15] Films from this era found an audience for the comedic depiction of same-sex relationships, something to which male viewers could relate, but which had been overlooked by screenwriters.[16][17]


Aspects of "bromantic comedies", including male camaraderie, are found in Barry Levinson's 1982 film Diner.[18] In that film, a group of six male friends struggle with growing up and finding their way in the real world, while they have each other to support them along the way. A similar situation occurs in the films Kicking and Screaming (1995) and The Hangover (2009).[18]

With John Hamburg's I Love You, Man the genre seems to have reached a particular apogee, as the film goes very far in its depiction of bromance, while receiving many excellent reviews.[19][20][21][22] In it, Paul Rudd stars as Peter Klaven, who is about to marry the love of his life, but he realizes that he doesn't have any male friends to serve as the best man at his wedding. Then he meets Jason Segel's character, Sydney, who is friendly and a great complement to Peter, but their bromance starts to impact the groom's relationship with his bride-to-be.

Broadway has borrowed the idea of the bromantic comedy from the movies and wedded it to the traditional musical form in The Book of Mormon and The Producers.[23]


The genre has its critics who accuse it of political incorrectness and a variety of insensitivities,[6][24] but the films are satires, and in that sense, the exposing of social ills may be considered to have some potentially positive effect.[16][25] A primary comedic target of the bromantic comedy is the idea that there is a "code" of male behavior that may tend to impede men from relating in a realistic or natural way with both men and women. Using satire and ridicule the films expose the flimsy ideology and the fears that are the basis of such "codes".[26][27] However, social critic David Hartwell concludes that beneath a facade of progressive and liberating motivation, the bromantic comedy genre is ultimately guilty of "perpetuating the ideologies it is trying (or pretending) to critique."[28]

Themes and elements of bromantic comedies

  • Male bonding and homosocial bonding[4]
  • Conflicts with heterosexual bonding[16]
  • Emphasis of bromance and rejection of homoeroticism, and deliberate confusion of homosocial/homoerotic relationships[6]
  • There is a focus on male self-consciousness.[9]
  • An element in the plot that allows the men to go off on their own, away from the women, for example, the "man cave" of I Love You, Man, the males-only vacation of The Hangover, or the wedding activities involving the groomsmen in The Wedding Ringer[2][9][29]
  • Infantilism of the male characters[5]
  • Humor guards the boundary between what is acceptable or unacceptable in a guy's interests[9]
  • The humor often extends to being considered "rude" or "raunchy".[30][31]
  • The films may be referred to as "wacky".[9][19]
  • Misogynistic elements are often found in the film narrative[30][32]

Notable bromantic comedy films


Television series and episodes have featured bromantic comedy elements:

  • My Musical, an episode of the series Scrubs that features the song "Guy Love"[41]
  • The 1960s TV show Batman featured camp elements and featured the "dynamic duo" Batman and Robin[41]
  • "The One with the Nap Partners", an episode from Season 7 of the TV show Friends, in which Joey and Ross find they enjoy napping together[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b Patterson, John (April 10, 2009). "True Bromance". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2015-06-23.
  2. ^ a b c d Bookey, Mike (March 25, 2009). "Bromantic Comedy: Actors Squeeze Formulaic Plot For All Its Laughs". The Source Weekly. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26.
  3. ^ "Bromance Definition & Meaning". Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on 2012-05-14.
  4. ^ a b Ramanujam, Srinivasa (March 3, 2015). "Coming soon, a 'bromantic' comedy". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 2021-12-23.
  5. ^ a b c DeAngelis, Michael. Reading the Bromance. Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television. Wayne State University Press. 2014. ISBN 9780814338988
  6. ^ a b c Batyreva, Amina (January 19, 2013). "Our romance with the "bromance"". The McGill Daily. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21.
  7. ^ "King of bromance: Judd Apatow". The Independent. August 19, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-08-20.
  8. ^ Denby, David (July 16, 2007). "A Fine Romance". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 2014-08-30.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Aisenberg, Joseph (July 31, 2009). "Here Come the Bromides: Living in the Era of the Bromantic Comedy". Bright Lights Film Journal.
  10. ^ Shary, Timothy. Millennial Masculinity: Men in Contemporary American Cinema. Wayne State University Press (2012) ISBN 978-0814334355
  11. ^ Text of Love's Labour's Lost at
  12. ^ a b Tranquilli, Marissa (February 7, 2014). "That Awkward Boredom: A Bromantic Comedy". The Cornell Daily Sun. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015.
  13. ^ Woudhuysen, H. R., ed. Love's Labours Lost (London: Arden Shakespeare, 1998): 61.
  14. ^ a b Cateridge, James. Film Studies For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons (2015) ISBN 9781118886533 page 120.
  15. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (June 8, 2009). "Isn't It Bromantic?". Newsweek. p. 73 – via Academic OneFile.
  16. ^ a b c Alberti, John (March 2013). "'I Love You, Man': Bromances, the Construction of Masculinity, and the Continuing Evolution of the Romantic Comedy". Quarterly Review of Film and Video. 30 (2): 159–172. doi:10.1080/10509208.2011.575658. S2CID 192199146.
  17. ^ Filippo, Maria San. The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television. Indiana University Press (2013) ISBN 9780253008923. Page 225-226.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Stewart, Sara (January 30, 2014). "'Awkward' is the latest evolution in bromantic comedy". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Wilonsky, Robert (March 18, 2009). "I Love You Man Reaches Bromantic Comedy's Greatest Heights". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2020-09-08.
  20. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (March 18, 2009). "I Love You, Man". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2015-06-24.
  21. ^ "I Love You, Man", Metacritic
  22. ^ "I Love You, Man". Premiere. March 19, 2009. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009.
  23. ^ Viertel, Jack. The Secret Life of the American Musical; How Broadway Shows are Built. Sarah Crichton Books. (2016) ISBN 978-0374256920. page 15
  24. ^ Freeman, Hadley (April 1, 2015). "The once-mighty bromance is dead – and Get Hard killed it". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2015-04-01.
  25. ^ a b Baumgarten, Marjorie (January 2, 2015). "The Interview review". Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2020-02-20. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  26. ^ Garfield, Robert. Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship. Gotham (2015) ISBN 978-1592409044.
  27. ^ DeAngelis, Michael. Radner, Hillary. Reading the Bromance: Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television. "Grumpy Old Men; Bros Before Hos". Wayne State University Press (2014) ISBN 9780814338995. Page 52.
  28. ^ Hartwell, David B. (2013). True Bromance: Representation of Masculinity and Heteronormative Dominance in the Bromantic Comedy. University of North Texas.
  29. ^ "The Wedding Ringer Review". IGN. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  30. ^ a b Gilman, Greg (January 31, 2014). "'That Awkward Moment' Reviews: Is This Bromantic Comedy Actually Funny?". The Wrap. Archived from the original on 2015-06-24.
  31. ^ Ordoña, Michael (January 15, 2015). "'Wedding Ringer' review: A bromantic comedy that goes there". SF Gate. Archived from the original on 2015-01-16. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  32. ^ DeAngelis, Michael. Reading the Bromance. Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television. Wayne State University Press (2014) ISBN 978-0814338988. According to DeAngelis, a difference between the "buddy film" and the "bromance" narrative is that "women are often treated misogynistically as loving yet controlling and annoying interferences whose demands must always be 'dealt with.'" And later DeAngelis describes this as a structure "central to bromance".
  33. ^ Bindley, Katherine (April 7, 2008). "Bromances aren't uncommon as guys delay marriage". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2015-08-11.
  34. ^ "Needs More Gay… Bromantic Comedies". The Backlot. January 26, 2011. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015.
  35. ^ Sickels, Robert, D. 100 Entertainers Who Changed America: An Encyclopedia of Pop Culture Luminaries. ISBN 9781598848311. page 21
  36. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (2009-05-28). "The Hangover: The Bromance of Summer". Newsweek. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  37. ^ Saito, Stephen (March 15, 2009). "SXSW 2009: The "It" Factor". IFC. Archived from the original on May 17, 2013.
  38. ^ Williams, Alex (June 17, 2013). "Bromantic comedy "This Is the End" does not disappoint". The Daily Texan. Archived from the original on 2021-04-12. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  39. ^ Poppe, Nathan (May 9, 2014). "Movie review: Neighbors". The Oklahoman. Archived from the original on 2021-12-23. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  40. ^ Moore, Roger (January 15, 2015). "Movie review: 'Wedding Ringer' is an amusing bromantic comedy". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  41. ^ a b c Scott Kearman (April 20, 2010). "Boston Bromance". Stuff. pp. 31–33.
This page was last edited on 8 February 2024, at 21:48
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