An accomplished aviation executive in Mexico and the sibling he didn’t know he had recreate their father’s mysterious journey to the United States years ago in “Half Brothers,” an engaging road-trip film with strong performances and humor that even made me care about a goat.
When we meet Renato (Luis Gerardo Méndez), he’s getting ready to marry in five days and trying to develop a bond with his stepson. But decades of resentment from his childhood, his father’s abandonment of him & his mother, left him with anger and trust issues which created an anti-social man who thrives off his self resilient mindset.
Then his father’s wife calls, startling him. She pleads with him, as does his fiancee, to visit his severely ill father, Flavio (Juan Pablo Espinosa). Arriving at the hospital, Renato is surprised to meet his half-brother, Asher (Connor Del Rio), surprises Renato, who instinctively refuses to accept it. Flavio’s last wish is for his sons to embark on a road trip solving codes, leading them to people and items that’ll provide answers to both brothers. Flavio anticipates Renato’s resentment and assures his son that “Eloise” will explain his actions and motives. Renato leaves, frustrated, but after Flavio dies, he meets Asher at the funeral, and both agree to embark on the road trip together.
Director Luke Greenfield, known for comedies like 2001’s “The Animal,” 2004’s “The Girl Next Door,” and 2011’s “Something Borrowed,” blends the heartfelt moments and silliness of “Half Brothers” well. The believable and entertaining dynamic between Méndez (“Charlie’s Angels”) and Del Rio (“Key and Peele”) is phenomenal. They bounce off each other with ease, delivering good comedic timing while also elevating the emotional scenes.
I’m still attempting to unravel how this film was successful in getting me to care about a goat. I won’t spoil the surprise about how the goat joined the trip, but yes, I was invested in the well being of the goat! All the jokes don’t work, but the ones that did had me laughing out loud. “Half Brothers” incorporates stereotypes, biases and preconceived notions throughout, but surprisingly that didn’t bother me because of the film’s overall emphasis on the value of different perspectives. Cementing the root cause of stereotypes and biases to stem from our lack of various perceptions.
Overall, “Half Brothers” is a funny, moving film driven by two good performances amplifying the message of inclusivity, family, and the importance of various perspectives. I didn’t realize I needed this film. It’s a trip worth taking.