Believe it or not, this isn’t a film about Simone Biles latent fifth gold medal that became a bronze. Aside from the scenes of gymnastics, this film is about as far from the grace of the American superstar as any film could possibly be, but unabashedly so.
The Bronze is what happens when The Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch writes a screenplay with her husband Winston Rauch, revolving around a character that is essentially Dr. Bernadette meets Stifler.
The film places us in the small Ohio town, Amherst, where gymnastic bronze medallist Hope Greggory has spent her recent years living on the remnants of her former success. Surviving on what she can steal from the mail via her postman father (Gary Cole), Hope is little more than a fallen idol passing her time smoking weed, inviting bar patrons for threesomes or masturbating to past videos of her peak gymnastics.
Upon receiving news that her old coach has passed, Hope is given a chance at redemption by way of a $500,000 inheritance signed over to Hope if she agrees to train the local usurper, gymnastic-superstar-to-be Maggie Townsend (Hayley Lu Richardson) on her run to the Olympics.
The Bronze is like a box of nails wrapped in a pink ribbon. It thrives on edgy and abrasive comedy, which seems to come a lot of the time through improvisation, but it’s the packaging that keeps this film refreshing. The seemingly do no wrong team of Melissa Rauch and slowly corrupting Hayley Lu Richardson add an element of shock to lines that definitely haven’t been heard on screen before.
Quotes like “when you’re coming off your giant, your tuck is getting sloppy and your legs are separating. Unless you’re catching spinning air dicks in there, I want you to keep ’em closed,” seem almost liberating for the female driven cast, generating the type of abrasive humour once reserved for dude flicks.
Unfortunately there should have been a filter for, perhaps not the content, but the sheer volume of the one-liners, which do not substitute for the lack of structured comedy. The story also fails to fulfill the redemptive arc as the depraved Hope makes progress in mere moments as opposed to incrementally, reaching galvanic points of empathy where she’d never shown the capability to do so.
Something relatively new to director Bryan Buckley, who previously had done most of his work on commercials for the Super Bowl, is the feature length concept, or planning a narrative that runs for two hours without feeling drawn out. The Bronze at times feels like it’s been stretched so far that holes have formed; holes that have been subsequently plugged with Rauch one-liners.
While Melissa Rauch perpetuates herself as the cute and innocent seeming bad-mouthed two sided girl, she does it with style and poise. The film falls flat through the plotline and elements like the love interest Twitchy (Thomas Middleditch) pass by unassumingly, but there are moments of gold amongst the rough, as well as one of the more outrageous sex scenes to ever take place. Audiences should have a pretty good idea of what they’re in for by the two minute mark.
Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Bronze has been released on DVD nation wide.