Gary Hardwick’s relationship comedy The Brothers was most certainly a success during its theatrical run (a $28 million gross vs. a $5.5 million budget), yet didn’t cross over to as broad as audience as it should have–that is, until now. Recently the film landed at #1 in the DVD sales chart, and while that’s surprising in light of the box office take, it certainly is not in light of the film itself. Although its central characters are four young African-American men (very well played by Morris Chestnut, D.L. Hughley, Bill Bellamy, and Shemar Moore), the concerns of the film are universal: the search for love and fulfillment; the mercurial relations between the sexes; and the importance of family and friends. Hardwick approaches these rather heady issues with an appealing mix of (sometimes raunchy) humor and warmth that never feels saccharine or forced–which can be largely attributed to the very sympathetic and realistic characters, who are brought to life through the very natural performances.
Of course, the DVD’s strong sales were also certainly of a reflection of the solid package assembled by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. A beautiful audiovisual transfer of the film is accompanied by a very informative running commentary by Hardwick. Although a first-time director, he has a keen sense for expressing his themes and concerns in a visual manner, and it’s interesting to hear about all the subtle flourishes that one may not easily pick up on. Sometimes Hardwick falls into the trap of simply summarizing the action of a given scene, but more often than not he rebounds with some comments about the deeper meanings of the scenes in terms of the characters and the larger picture.
The behind-the-scenes featurette on the disc is not, as is too often the case, reappropriated electronic press kit material. This 20-minute conversation with Hardwick was produced expressly for the DVD, and while some of his comments overlap with the feature-length commentary, this program allows him to talk about a few things he did not address–namely, how he arrived at the casting of all the principal roles. For once, the making-of featurette is not token.
A selection of brief and understandably deleted scenes (most viewable with or without commentary by Hardwick), the film’s theatrical trailer (along with those for a few other films), and the music video for the Eric Benet’s main title tune round out the supplements, but such features are just gravy on what is a satisfying presentation of the very enjoyable main feature.
Specifications: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen; English 5.1 Surround; French Dolby Surround; English and French subtitles; English closed captioning.