Dubbed “Refusing to Exhale” by director Gary Hardwick, “The Brothers” traces the journey of four African-American men as they take on love, sex, friendship and two of life’s most terrifying prospects — honesty and commitment. Smart, successful and sexy, Jackson Smith (Morris Chestnut), Brian Palmer (Bill Bellamy), Derrick West (D.L. Hughley) and Terry White (Shemar Moore) are “The Brothers” — lifelong friends banded together to weather love’s innate terrors and occasional triumphs in this brazenly comic yet painfully true exploration of the battle between the sexes. Amidst the career track, basketball and bar hopping, “The Brothers” love women, as many as possible, but a shocking revelation tests the foursome’s friendship and changes their dating habits forever.
This is the story of a rowdy bunch of wealthy young African-American professionals struggling with the deeper meaning of life, while experimenting sexually as if it is the last day of their lives. Most of the “brothers” seemed reluctant to leave their juvenile, girl-crazy days and transition into a more stable lifestyle. Even the married “sucker” (D.L. Hughley) is obsessed with the fact that his wife won’t perform a certain sexual act which becomes the basis for a breakup.
Somewhere beneath the profane and obscene language and sexual antics lies two love stories – one involving the remarriage of an older divorced couple, and the other involving their son and his girlfriend – who had formerly dated the now repentant father. Are you still with me? All in all, this could have been a tender story of the coming of age of a group of young men and a love story of repentance and reconciliation. That part of the story only takes about 20 minutes, leaving 77 minutes of time to fill with every form of debauchery – real or imagined. In my opinion, “The Brothers” is an insult to the notion that art imitates life.