Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Bronze (2016)

Film: The Bronze (2016)
Stars: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong, Haley Lu Richardson
Director: Bryan Buckley
Oscar History: No nominations
Snap Judgment Ranking: 1/5 stars

I don't exactly remember when it was I added The Bronze to my queue.  Was it the initial trailers, randomly in front of Landmark movies rather than the raunchy comedies at a more mainstream cinema where you might expect such things?  Was it my curiosity about Melissa Rauch, so long the seventh-string player on The Big Bang Theory, getting a rare big-screen break (something I'm still waiting on for Kaley Cuoco)?  Or was it knowing how sexy Sebastian Stan looked in that red-band trailer, and wanting to get in on that?  Whatever one it was (it was Sebastian Stan), The Bronze recently found its way on my TV stand, and so now we're to review it...which as you can see above, may become an unpleasant affair.

(Spoilers Ahead) The movie centers on Hope Anne Gregory (Rauch), an Olympic gymnast who had a Kerri Strugg-style moment and got the Americans a bronze medal.  As a result, she's spent years milking her celebrity in her small Ohio town, essentially living in a bubble where she's constantly having her moment of glory.  The film follows her trying to grow up, eventually (in pursuit of an inheritance that turns out to be fake), coaching another aspiring Olympian Maggie Townsend (Richardson) after her mutual coach with Hope commits suicide.  Along the way, Hope ends up romancing a guy she tortured as a youth nicknamed Twitchy (Middleditch), and sparking a rivalry with gold-and-silver medalist Lance Tucker (Stan).

The film could have been good, I want to point out-there's lots of room for humor, or quite frankly something even more here.  Unlike other athletics (or other countries, for that matter), we end up glorifying our Olympians for a brief two weeks every two years, and then watch them disappear, with little continued love.  There are hundreds of Hope Anne Gregorys in the world that were, for one shining moment, the adoration of the entire world, and then suddenly they slip away, but of course have to deal with the fact of being a "famous person" for the rest of their lives without having much of the benefits of such a situation.  Having someone that is delusional, living in that past without being able to move forward because she truly peaked at seventeen is something that could work as a drama or a comedy, and was a solid idea for a movie.

That being said, this doesn't work, at all.  The jokes aren't remotely funny, except for the sparing ones delivered by Sebastian Stan, who steals what little there is to take of the movie as Lance, a cocky but sexy rival of Hope's who has turned his gold medal into a lucrative coaching career.  Rauch has comedic chops and after years of working on a sitcom knows how to land her lines, but they aren't funny and mostly rely upon the sight-gag of a girl who was America's Sweetheart cussing like a longshoreman, which gets old after about three minutes.  The film also doesn't have a clue where it's going-it never makes Maggie cruel enough to deserve her eventual fate or late-breaking twist, and it never makes Hope nice enough to warrant her eventual victory.  The film has potential, but it's all squandered on bad jokes and even worse plotting, which is a pity as I was actually ready for Rauch to make this jump.

Those are my thoughts on The Bronze-what are yours?  Were you with me that Sebastian Stan was the only salvageable thing about a trainwreck, or did you like the direction this picture took?  Where do you think Rauch's next step in cinema should be?  Share your thoughts below in the comments!


Anonymous said...

Stan is such an underrated comedic actor. He's one of the best things about the mediocre Hot Tub Time Machine, as well.

John T said...

Anon-agreed, I really would love to see him elevate a comedy that was worthy of his talents. Perhaps Paul Feig should hire him for his next project?