Published Mar 01, 2001"The Brothers" derives its humour from mining the age-old male/female conflict, portraying a world where men struggle to maintain their freedom while the women they're with try to trap them into commitment and marriage. This is a world that I don't live in, so admittedly I have a hard time finding the comedy therein.
The film focuses on four friends who all face different challenges with women, mainly having to do with their fears of growing older and leaving the player lifestyle behind for committed relationships. Jackson (Morris Chestnut) is a sweet paediatrician with recurring nightmares about tying the knot who begins to question his serial dating pattern when he starts to fall for Denise (Gabrielle Union). Brian (Bill Bellamy), a sleazy lawyer whose sleeping around has pissed off much of the local female population, swears off dating black women because "they're too much hassle" and starts working his charm on a white karate instructor (Julie Benz). Derrick (D.L. Hughley) is dealing with a faltering marriage because of his wife's inability to give head. Terry (Shemar Moore), once the biggest player of them all, renounces his old ways and agrees to marry his sweetheart, much to the others disbelief.
The camaraderie between the friends is easy and fun, and the characters all manage to be likeable, despite their obvious flaws. The film definitely has sexist overtones, but to its credit the script tries to delve into some of the reasons behind the ingrained misogyny of the player mentality. The psychology employed here is pretty standard (their behaviour leading inevitably back to their parents), but at least the sexist pattern isn't totally taken for granted. The story itself meanders a bit, as there are many story lines at play and not all of them seem fully developed. The script too is far from tight, but actually most of the film's funniest moments come from this looseness, when comedians Hughley and Bellamy are improvising around the dialogue with great mama jokes and putdowns. The script is at its worst when the romantic cliches surface, the music swells up, and earnest dialogue takes over. It's an uneven film, but the strength and energy of the performances make it fairly enjoyable, even if the content is questionable at times.