"Black and white women have one thing in common: we don't like bullshit men." -Jesse Caldwell
For me, the one thing that can instantly kill a romantic comedy is when the screenwriters have the couple in question go through the most cliched of circumstances to wait until the end of the film to officially begin life as a couple. I'll never know why some comedies which do this, such as The Wedding Singer (1998) and Wedding Crashers (2005), enjoy success since these are just two of the many films of that genre which basically do nothing but have the two leads waste 90+ minutes of their time and the audience's time ignoring the obvious.
Thankfully, The Brothers proves an exception to that rule. Four childhood friends-Jackson Smith (Morris Chestnut), Brian Palmer (Bill Bellamy), Derrick West (D.L. Hughley), and Terry White (Shemar Moore)-go through the trials and tribulations of romantic relationships. The quartet begin to give the subject considerable thought when Terry announces that he's engaged. Jackson falls in love with beautiful photographer Denise Johnson (Gabrielle Union), only to learn that she was once involved with his father. Brian begins dating spunky Jesse Caldwell (Julie Benz), but they hit a rough patch when she has a harsh exchange with a respected judge (Angelle Brooks) over their interracial relationship. Derrick is already married, but finds himself wanting more satisfaction from his wife Sheila (Tamala Jones). Off all these subplots, the most engaging is Jackson and Denise's. I'd sure react uncomfortably if a member of my family was once involved with my significant other. Chestnut and Union have great chemistry, so it's no surprise that this film wouldn't be the last time they would share the screen. The reason The Brothers is better than the aforementioned comedies is that the characters come across as individuals rather than cliches. The reactions (and thus the performances) are all believable and, while we may not agree with everything some of the characters (in particular, Brian and his lack of closure with Jesse) do, we nevertheless find the dynamics of these unpredictable and, at times, unsettling situations interesting.
Roger Ebert probably said it best in his review of the dreadful comedy Tomcats (2001) which also deals with a group of guy friends dealing with the concept of romance leading to marriage: The Brothers get their magic because they themselves respect women and are instantly likeable.