Bros were a phenomenon across most of the pop world in 1988, exploding onto the scene with the blatantly self-regarding hit When Will I Be Famous? and following that up with a string of singles that went Top Ten in countless markets, and an Album, Push, that went quadruple platinum as far as sales went. But their fall was as complete as their meteoric rise, and within around a year they were hasbeens, thrown away on the rubbish dump of entertainment as their fans grew up and moved on and the media eventually got tired of putting the boot in and forgot about them. The twin brothers involved suffered great hurt, professionally and personally - but what if they reunited?
Would anyone be interested? It turns out you can never dismiss the power of nostalgia, as their return to the pop limelight generated a collection of stadium gigs packed with ex-Brosettes (although you could argue once a Brosette, always a Brosette) keen to relive their teenage years and see Matt and Luke in the flesh once again. To accompany this comeback, a documentary was commissioned, named after a question in an interview with chatshow host Terry Wogan where he inquired what they would do after the screaming fans lost interest, but although it did not become the phenomenon that the Bros of '88 would have been, generated a lot of interest nonetheless.
A lot of that was down to one thing, an unexpected element that had even those who had no attraction to Bros giving this documentary a try: it was hilariously funny. Time and again comparisons were made to This is Spinal Tap, the benchmark mockumentary, to the extent that some thought this was some kind of put-on, that it had been scripted to be as amusing as it was, yet to all intents and purposes the two directors merely turned their cameras on and let the boys ramble. This resulted in many bon mots that appeared to have no self-awareness whatsoever, no grasp of how absurd they sounded, especially the pretentious Matt, who supplied a steady stream of daftness.
Before long their lines about Rome, about Stevie Wonder's Superstition, the conkers conversation (it's an urban myth, guys!) had become notorious and you imagine the filmmakers hugging themselves with glee as they sat in the editing room. They look on dubious ground from the beginning, as Luke, who has turned to the film acting business, proudly puts together his directorial debut which in truth doesn't exactly appear prestigious, and Matt performs his Las Vegas show which his promoter unconvincingly informs us is the greatest ever staged in the city - Frank Sinatra who? But someone obviously noted how well eighties revivals were doing in the twenty-tens, and though tensions are strained between the brothers, they are persuaded to get back together for a show at the O2, with the hope they can cash in further.
The trouble is, no matter how much they profess their love and respect for their sibling, they can't half argue, and as they are both incredibly thin-skinned they take umbrage more often than not, Luke obviously still smarting that Matt was the fan favourite, and Matt's unsteady self-respect detecting any unrest like a laser guided missile. Yet no matter how much we laugh, that was not the whole story: they were just nineteen when fame came knocking, very young, and that has affected them more than they admit, especially when it evaporated so quickly. This was as much a film about family as it was about fickle pop, and there's nothing funny about them losing their sister and their mother, indeed it endears the brothers to the viewer to see how vulnerable their mishaps and even successes have made them. While this would mean more to the fans of yesteryear than the casual viewer, it was enough of a portrait of two ridiculous but somehow stoic men who survived in an often emotionally brutal line of work to make it thoroughly absorbing. But you cannot imagine Green Day, The Who, Soundgarden and so on wearing Bros T-shirts. And where's Ken?