Bromance, zom-com, or squeakuel?

By Shu ChiangMovies - 13 January 2010 5:30 PM | Updated 05 February 2010

Bromance, zom-com, or squeakuel?

It used to be pretty easy to figure out what a movie was.

It was either a comedy, or a drama, or an action flick. The girlier films would be dismissed as weepies, while stuff set in space or involving some kind of far-fetched scientific premise would be sci-fi.

These days, there are some new movie sub-genres that have gotten more prevalent, leading to the creation of snappy labels such as bromances, zom-coms and even squeakuels.

In this special series, we offer some handy definitions of these sub-genres, and take a look ahead at what lies ahead within these categories.

This week: The Bromance

Bromances essentially have their roots in buddy movies.

If anyone remembers such dude flicks as 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys, and Swingers, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

There’s usually two guys or more as the protagonists, and they are usually put through some kind of ordeal, either running from bad guys, trying to apprehend bad guys, or trying to figure their way out of some kind of romantic entanglement.

Let’s just say that most people can recognise a male-bonding scene when they see one. It involves talking about your past, a traumatic/meaningful memory from the past, or sharing other personal details. Or it could be two guys escaping a life-threatening situation and then laughing about it.

More blatantexamples would involve non-sexual physical contact, lots of firm handshakes, noble man-hugs, or military salutes, such as in An Officer and a Gentleman or Top Gun.

In this day and age of socially acceptable man-crushes, the bromance is a derivation of the buddy movie. Its name refers to its inherent mocking attitude towards two or more straight platonic males discussing their emotions, a regular feature of the bromance.

In fact, bromances are less about romance than awkward comedy. A more broad definition of bromance would be a film that has two or more guys in a close friendship. (Brokeback Mountain does not count, because the characters cross a very distinct line.)

The prime bromantic example could be 2009’s I Love You, Man, whereby Paul Rudd’s soon-to-be-married character goes on a series of man-dates to find a best man.

He finds Jason Segel’s character be to his new BFF (for the uninitiated: best friend forever), then realises that he enjoys spending time with him more than with his prospective bride. What is a guy to do?

By this measure, you could say that Spock and Kirk shared a rich bromance in Star Trek (both Leonard Nimoy-William Shatner and Zachary Quinto-Chris Pine), as did Riggs and Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon. Chasing Amy was a Ben Affleck-Jason Lee bromance, in retrospect.

Frodo and Samwise were certainly a close male friendship, shaggy feet notwithstanding, in The Lord of the Rings. And frankly, did it ever seem like our old Friends Ross, Chandler and Joey used to talk about their feelings all the time, and hug a heck of a lot?

Not, as Seinfeld said, that there’s anything wrong with that!

Recent bromances:

Humpday, Pineapple Express, Superbad, Role Models, Clerks, Harold and Kumar, The Hangover, Knocked Up, and the TV series Scrubs, My Name is Earl and Chuck.

Upcoming bromances:

Paul (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), The Green Hornet (Seth Rogen, Jay Chou), The Other Guys (Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg), Dinner for Schmucks (Steve Carell, Paul Rudd) and the TV series Bromance (starring Brody Jenner of The Hills).

Look out for Part Two : The Dude Flick (not Chick Flick), aka Guy-Cry movie.