Rauch is Less Bernadette and More Tonya Harding In “The Bronze”

By Scott Kurland
Film: The Bronze
Starring: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong, and Haley Lu Richardson
Rated R
Director: Bryan Buckley

Why do we love bad people? I don't mean why do we love them in real life. That’s way too psychological for me. I’m talking about the bad people we encounter in films. We love the flawed, selfish, and sometimes sociopathic people we see on screen. Tommy Devito from “Goodfellas”, love him. Patrick Bateman from “American Psycho,” can’t get enough. Don’t even get me started on the Joker; we could be here for days on that character alone. Ever since “Taxi Driver” came out, movie goers learned that it’s sometimes a good thing to root for the nut job. That brings us to this week’s film “The Bronze”, written by and starring “The Big Bang Theory’s” Melissa Rauch. Let’s find out how flawed her character truly is shall we?

“The Bronze” is the story of Hope Ann Gregory (Rauch), a former Olympic bronze medalist whose days of glory are far behind her. Hope lives off an allowance that her father Stan (Gary Cole) provides for her, when she’s not stealing birthday cards filled with money from his mail truck that is. When Stan cuts Hope off, she's forced to find a real job to pay for her exorbitant lifestyle. This search ends with Hope becoming the coach for another Olympic hopeful in her town named Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson”. Problems arise for Hope when her former rival, Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan), tries to steal Maggie away from Hope. Can Hope make Maggie a champion? Or will Lance sabotage them both?

Let me start off by saying that this is a well written film by Rauch and her husband Winston. With that said, this is also a very flawed film that director Bryan Buckley tries to navigate through unsuccessfully. The characters are very strong. Rauch finds a way to make this emotionally stunted gymnast empathetic. We never truly like Hope, but we empathize with her feelings of inadequacy. 

What doesn’t work for the film is the music and score provided Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau. I’ve always believed that a films likability rests solely on the shoulders of the movie’s composer. Music can either hook us into a film or leave us unimpressed, and what happens with “The Bronze” is the latter. For a film that’s suppose to be a raunchy comedy, the score sounds like something out of an Oscar-nominated drama about the Iraq War. The score works in the emotional scenes, but then it doesn’t stop and bleeds into the comedy. That’s why “The Bronze” didn’t suck me in. I wanted to like this film, I truly did. However, I just couldn’t get sucked into this world.

“The Bronze” is filled with great performances from Gary Cole and Haley Lu Richardson. It's also proof that Thomas Middleditch can make every film better. Yet, the one performance everyone is talking about in regards to “The Bronze” is the five minute sex scene with Rauch and Sebastian Stan. Let me tell you, this is the craziest scene I’ve seen in a film in a very long time. I had no idea that a person could be turned into both a balance beam and a pommel horse. I guess this goes to show you that something can be learned with every new film you see. I will say that Stan as the villain is pretty hysterical. It’s like if the maliciousness of Lex Luthor was put into the body a handsome gold medalist. This is a very good cast caught in an extremely cluttered and draining film.

“The Bronze” isn’t a bad film. and there’s some things I really like about the movie. I just can’t recommend people see it in the theaters. This is a better film to see On-Demand, Netflix, or through Redbox. I wouldn’t waste the twelve dollars to see it in the theaters. I have a feeling that in the future, “The Bronze” will earn cult status. But as of right now, it’s not the time for this film to be seen. I like Rauch. I think she’s one  of the best things about “The Big Bang Theory”. Sadly, her debut film was not the best that it could have been. I know she’ll recover and still have a great career, but “The Bronze” needed a stronger score, better director, and more marketing for it to do better. Do yourself a favor and wait to rent this on dvd or blu-ray. 

scott kurlandComment