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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Bromance **

Starring: Javier De Pietro, Agustín Pardella, Marcos Ribas, Luana Pascual

Director: Lucas Santa Ana

If you go down to the woods today... you'll probably find a bunch of sexually confused twenty-somethings trying to work out their feelings for one another, if the new Argentinian film Bromance is to be believed.

Daniel, Adrián and Santiago are childhood best friends who have gone on a camping trip in the woods, just like they used to as children. Hunting down the same spot as they always camped in, they try to relive the innocent fun they used to have, but the arrival of Julieta camping nearby threatens to jeopardise that. Looking into the group, she realises quickly that there is sexual tension between two of the boys, but when she tries to draw it to their attention is greeted only with derision. As the holiday continues, they all struggle to deal with what none of them can admit.

Bromance is yet another in the long list of Coming Out Films. This time from Argentina, we see the pressures of masculinity and the perception that being gay somehow undermines that. As usual, the gay character has to come up against seemingly immovable social boundaries that have become ingrained within his friends. While always interesting to see LGBT people in different cultures, this is a story that has been told time and time again. By now, this is a genre that has become tangled up in its own tropes and devices and unfortunately, it's not enough to dangle the "one of them is gay" carrot by itself anymore. While the film does try to pad out its other characters with some semblance of subplot, there is very little to enrich the film's very basic and safe premise.

The film could have been saved by painting vivid and interesting characters, but even this was a bit of a stretch. Daniel, Adrián and Santiago are all pastel shades of the same bland colour, with their differences only serving as plot devices rather than providing significant characterisation. The arrival of Julieta serves as the bomb to dismantle their equilibrium, but even she lacks any real depth or complexity.

Bromance is by no means a terrible film, but it just feels a little like being promised a trifle but being served a bowl of custard. Lacking in pace, it feels like a static Y Tu Mama Tambien but without the "will-they-won't-they"... and without an attempt to even make us care. With a soundtrack that builds only to fizzle into anticlimax and montages that don't really show anything, it feels like the director didn't really know what he was trying to say. The word 'bromance' conjurs images of banter, laddish tomfoolery, laughs and fraternal protection, but the film lacks ALL of the above. The Hangover is more about bromance than this.

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