Film Review – The Bronze
So you want to watch a film about the hometown Olympic hero? It is best not bring the kids this time. The Bronze is not a family friendly film in any way, shape, or form. It is a rather hilarious take on that story, or at least what happens ten plus years down the line. The trailers for it do not prepare you for this film, mostly because they would have to be red-band.
Hope (Melissa Rauch) won a bronze medal in gymnastics in the 2004 Rome Summer Olympics. She did this by finishing her Olympics with a bum foot and becoming America’s hero and sweetheart in the same second. Hope is still living in her hometown of Amherst, Ohio and in her father’s basement over ten years later. She does not have a job, but freeloads off her bronze medal. In Amherst, she is still a local celebrity and Hope takes full advantage of it. When her estranged Olympic coach dies, she is tasked with coaching the next Hope, Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson), who has what it takes to become the next Olympic medalist in gymnastics. Along the way, Hope reconnects with the local gym manager, Ben (Thomas Middleditch) and her former rival and first lover, Lance (Sebastian Stan).
While that summary of The Bronze may seem like something young kids might like to see, let me burst that bubble real quick. After we see Hope winning her medal, we see Hope in her bed masturbating to video footage of her Olympics. She then proceeds to steal money from cards in her postal carrier father’s (Gary Cole) mail truck, which allows her to go and buy some things and hit up her local haunts for free pizza and milkshakes. She even has her own designated parking spot downtown. Hope is loaded with expletives coming out of her mouth every minute. Oh, and she wears her Olympic warm-up suit on a daily basis and always with a curly ponytail and perfectly coiffed bangs.
This is a welcome original comedy from the minds of Melissa Rauch and Winston Rauch. This is not a run-of-the-mill comedy, but one that took an American phenomenon, the gymnastic heroine, and turned the reality into something much more crass and raunchy than you would expect. Melissa Rauch has taken herself out of being typecast as the tiny, nice girl (as in The Big Bang Theory) and created a character that debunks all the types. Hope is vengeful, proud, immature and a bully. She does not take to criticism very well and money has now become her motivator.
If you add in Ben (aka Twitch) as the nice guy and Lance, gymnastic athlete and coach, you get a good triangle in both love and competition. They are polar opposites and Ben brings out the good in Hope, while Lance preys on her competitive side. It all culminates in the best and most athletic sex scene ever.
The shtick of Hope’s character can get a little tiresome by the end of The Bronze. It tries to pull a happy ending for Hope with the sacrifice of building up Maggie as a great, wholesome girl. It felt a bit disingenuous to the lesson Hope is served both in her personal and professional life. Even with these reservations, The Bronze is still a great, little comedy that comes out swinging (with expletives) and will have you laughing at this against-type, little “heroine.”