Synopsis: A foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist must fight for her local celebrity status when a new young athlete’s star rises in town.
Release Date: March 18, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Sports movies can be brilliantly unifying things. When done well, as is the case with Rocky or Miracle, sports movies have the power to make the audience stand up and cheer. When done poorly, however, they end up like The Bronze.
The Bronze is about a gymnast named Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch from “The Big Bang Theory”) who, after heroically winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games on an injured ankle, simply returned to her home town of Akron, Ohio to live with her father, Stan (Office Space‘s Gary Cole). Known as the “Pride of Akron,” Hope is treated like a celebrity around the town for the better part of a decade, but a promising new gymnast named Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson from “Recovery Road”) who is being trained by Hope’s old coach threatens to take all of that away – if she can win better than a bronze. When Hope’s old coach suddenly dies, she leaves Hope a huge chunk of money – on the condition that she take over Maggie’s training. With the help of a training assistant named Ben “Twitchy” Lawfort (Thomas Middleditch from The Final Girls), Hope has to get Maggie past the obstruction of a rival Olympic team coordinator named Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan from Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and into the Olympics in order to collect her payday.
The screenplay for The Bronze was written by Melissa Rauch (who plays Hope) and her husband, Winston Rauch, both first-time screenwriters. The film also represents the feature length debut from director Bryan Buckley. The inexperience on both fronts shows. As a whole, the film is just really flat. There’s no electricity or excitement. It’s filled with unlikable characters doing things for the wrong reasons finding themselves in sordid situations that fail to connect on any level with the audience. Really, The Bronze is not even so bad that it’s funny. It’s just bad.
As a sports movie, The Bronze simply has no energy or emotion. Had it focused more on the character of Maggie, the rising star, it would have a chance to evoke the proper rooting response out of the audience. Unfortunately, the focus is on Hope, which would be okay if Hope was an interesting character, but she’s not. There are points in the film’s arc where the audience is supposed to feel sorry for Hope, to cheer for her, to want everything to turn out okay for her, but she’s already been built up as such a nasty person that there’s no sympathy for her. When the film gets to its climactic event, it doesn’t feel like rooting for Doug Glatt to beat Ross “The Boss” Rhea in Goon or hoping that Brendan Conlon can win a tournament to save his home in Warrior. Hope has been such a bad person throughout the setup of the movie that the audience literally doesn’t give a damn if Maggie wins or loses.
There is one (almost) saving grace for The Bronze. It includes one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, sex scenes of the last ten years. It’s not even worth trying to describe – it just has to be seen to be believed. It’s also not worth sitting through the rest of the movie, though, so it can wait until it hits Netflix or Amazon Prime. But honestly, you know a movie is bad if the best thing about it is a throwaway sex scene, and that’s the case with The Bronze.
The comedy in The Bronze is, put bluntly, not funny. The humor is sophomoric, which can be funny if done correctly, but The Bronze only takes it halfway, not really letting it get madcap or slapstick enough to elicit any real laughs. Much of the verbal comedy is just insults and name-calling, with no intelligence or wit to it at all; it’s just mean and vulgar, and there’s nothing funny about that. There are no organic gags, only forced jokes that fall flat on their comic butts. It sounds cliché to say it, but The Bronze tries too hard to be funny, so it isn’t funny.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Bryan Buckley
- Producer(s): Stephanie Langhoff
- Screenwriter(s): Melissa RauchWinston Rauch
- Cast: Melissa Rauch (Hope Annabelle Greggory)Gary Cole (Stan Greggory)Haley Lu Richardson (Maggie Townsend) Thomas Middleditch (Ben Lawfort)Sebastian Stan (Lance Tucker)Cecily Strong (Janice Townsend)
- Editor(s): Jay Nelson
- Cinematographer: Scott Henriksen
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Michelle Martini
- Casting Director(s): Lillian Pyles
- Music Score: Amdrew Feltenstein
- Music Performed By: John Nau
- Country Of Origin: USA