Crandall’s Outlandish Comedy Struggles To Bring The Laughs

Dec 30, 2022

Home Movie Reviews Bromates Review: Crandall’s Outlandish Comedy Struggles To Bring The Laughs

There’s an enormous effort to entertain, but Bromates runs out of ideas faster than it can provide organic laughs.

Brendan Scannell, Lil Rel Howery, Josh Brener, and Asif Ali, in Bromates

Breaking up is hard to do. At least that’s true for Neil Sedaka, the singer-songwriter whose 1962 hit stole the hearts of people around the world. It seems as if the song would make the perfect inspiration for a movie, in which getting over heartbreak requires deep introspection and the ability to move on. That’s the case for Jonesie and Sid, two friends who can’t catch a break within their relationships in Court Crandall’s latest feature. The film follows these two men as they act as support systems for each other to overcome their heartbreak. There’s an enormous effort to entertain, but Bromates runs out of ideas faster than it can provide organic laughs.

Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) and Josh Brener (Baked in Brooklyn) star as polar opposite best friends Jonesie and Sid. After they both experience heartache in the aftermath of their breakups with their girlfriends, Jonesie and Sid make it their mission to help each other cope and overcome. The dynamic duo decides to move in together in a misguided attempt to help each other through it. With the assistance of their friends “Angry Mike” (Asif Ali) and “Runaway Dave” (Brendan Scannell), their plans evolve from simple parties and vice-centered coping mechanisms to life-threatening escapades. And soon, they discover that breakups aren’t the only things that are difficult to experience.

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Crandall crafts an intriguing comedy feature from his promising script, which is written in partnership with Chris Kemper. But somewhere in between taking the script to the big screen, Bromates struggles to deliver a quality and funny watching experience. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing too compelling about the main characters — Jonesie is the outgoing ladies’ man while Sid is the more reserved friend, who finds difficulty in having non-creepy conversations with women. But there’s rarely an opportunity to dissect these characters as people outside their relationships and why they desperately need to get over it quickly.

By the film’s end, it’s clear that something is missing. In its entirety, Bromates doesn’t feel like a cohesive project aimed to tell a story about friendship and growth. Instead, two friends happen to be experiencing the same type of heartbreak simultaneously and cope differently. Their juxtaposing reactions to their breakups do provide interesting character analysis for both. Jonesie leans into immature behaviors to mask his feelings while Sid dissolves into a depressive state. But none of these elements tend to stick as a result of the outlandish circumstances in which they find themselves.

Brendan Scannell, Asif Ali, Josh Brener, and Lil Rel Howery in Bromates

At times, Bromates presents itself as a series of occasions that happens to the best friend duo. Unfortunately, this makes the movie appear like a series of comedy sketches instead of one consistent storytelling approach. There are side characters with limited importance outside their rambunctious personalities. There are also ongoing side plots that never really amount to anything. Essentially, it doesn’t appear as if there were any true plans to take this script from a fun project that could barely entertain to one that truly said something about the value of friendships during difficult times. It’s unfortunately why the feature falls flat in delivering the bare minimum, and even when it does, it undersells its narrative themes.

Overall, Bromates had plenty going for it to plant ideas about male friendships and growth to solidify itself as a fun comedy worth seeing. Ultimately, it falters in execution because it takes zero risks and presents a story and themes that have been done before and better. With cast members who have had resounding success delivering comedic performances that can stick with viewers long after even one viewing, not much can be said about their work here. Bromates is fine, but nothing about the film screams replay value, or even recommending once to others.

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Bromates released in limited theaters and to VUDU on October 7. The film is 94 minutes long and rated R for crude and sexual content, some drug use, and language throughout.

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