Sundance movies have a “feel good” factor about them, and this is clearly visible in every aspect and every moment in the reel of pretty much every movie they show. The Bronze is no different in this regard.
The Bronze is the story is about a former Olympic medalist (not a true life story) who is struggling to move on with her life. Hope Ann Gregory (Melissa Rauch, or better known as Bernadette from the Big Bang Theory), is an extremely crass and bad mouthed ex-Olympic gymnast who hasn’t’ really moved on from her 15 minutes of fame. A decade ago, Hope landed a flawless beam dismount despite having an injury in her Achilles heel and till date gets off on it! (Literally!) She parades around her small, podunk town of Amherst, Ohio in her USA outfit owning her celebrity status, as she is a regular at a local mall and the diner where she never pays for anything and has drink and food specials in her honor.
As a result of her foul mouth and pretty horrible attitude towards everyone around her, she still lives with her father Stan (played by the often under-appreciated Gary Cole), who is trying hard to tread the fine line between being a responsible father and slapping the teeth off his obnoxious daughter. In an effort to get her out of the house, he fakes a letter from Hope’s Olympic coach who has committed suicide and claims that she has left a will, stipulating Hope could receive $500 million so as long as she sets her ego aside, and trains the town’s up-and-coming gymnastics star, Maggie Townsend (the vivacious Haley Lu Richardson).
Tossed up between her want to milk her fame in her small town versus the possibility of losing her fame in exchange for 500 big ones, Hope has to decide and strategize her next steps. Will she train the new incumbent and step aside from her fame or will she burn the youngster? (It’s not a tough decision is it? :))
The film is satirical but not comic satire per se and this isn’t a movie like Office Space and obviously it won’t win any awards either, however it does have what you call a high level of ‘re-watchability’ and some of its one liners are absolute gems. The opening scene for one sets the outrageous tone and hats off to Melissa and her partner in crime (and life) Winston Rauch for writing something silly and intangibly wonderful.
The cast isn’t stellar but they are somehow apt for this low budget indie film. Melissa is the heart and soul of the movie and is competently backed up by Cole, Richardson and the rest of the cast. Special mention to Twitchy Ben (Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley fame) who plays the sweet guy and burgeoning love interest of Hope and does his best to pull her away from the dark side.
Bryan Buckley (of Asad fame) has done a decent job in his direction of this R rated comedy. However, if truth be told, the movie is carried on the petite yet powerful Melissa Rauch and her impeccable dialogue delivery with her poker face profanity-spewing-tongue.
If you break the story down to its basic elements, you will realize that there is nothing new in it. Evil ogre turns into village saving hero. But what really works for the movie is how it has been handled. A basic concept directed well and a script written funnily enough to ensure the audience does get its money’s worth of laughs. Throw in the aforementioned talent who all enact their parts to perfection and you somehow have a mix that breathes life into a resuscitated storyline making it entertaining and a reliable ‘sports’ movie.
The only downside of the movie is something I haven’t been able to pin so far. The movie is worth a watch, but the more you think about it, the more you realize, that the movie had the potential to be a Gold, but falls short …agonizingly so and thus gets a Bronze. (My sense of humor needs work, I know!)
It could be the lack of a stronger story or maybe the screen presence of someone more iconic, but the movie falls short at a certain level and maybe that is why it isn’t up there with Office Space or even Dodgeball or Blades of Glory.
With dialogues that would make a sailor blush and a scenes that will burn hysterically disturbing imagery in your mind for life, I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who is easily offended. But, if you’ve got the skin for it, I can’t recommend this comedy more.