The Bronze

The Bronze is one of those films that thinks being vulgar and crude for the sake of it is hilarious. It comes out of the blocks trying to shock and disgust you with its unrepentant foul and aggressive dialogue. It’s just a shame that none of this is funny in the slightest. In fact, it just comes off as annoying.

Rather than providing any laughs at all, you can’t help but repeatedly shake your head at The Bronze like you would a toddler that’s just learnt their first curse word. It’s reprehensible, unfunny, and a chore to watch, while the prolonged offensive diatribes soon just become white noise. But then, once its plot settles, The Bronze actually starts to showcase a sweetness that means it suddenly becomes a tad more bearable. Relationships between the characters are allowed to grow rather than being stunted by loud and abrasive dialogue between them, and the impressive ensemble is able to emanate the appeal that has made them so popular.

But while this is a welcome relief, when The Bronze is sweet it’s still not funny, while Melissa Rauch’s Hope is way too grating during the opening to be redeemed. It’s also frustrating, too. Because it just highlights that there actually was a good film in The Bronze somewhere.

In The Bronze, The Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch takes the lead role of Hope Annabelle Greggory, a former gymnastics bronze medallist who, since her success, has been living off her celebrity in her hometown. The emergence of young gymnast Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson) threatens Hope’s status. So when the opportunity to land $500,000 as well as coach and sabotage Maggie’s training appears, Hope jumps at it.

With a cast that not only features Melissa Rauch, who co-wrote the script with her husband Winston Rauch, but also includes seasoned comedy pro Gary Cole (Office Space, Dodgeball, Talladega Nights), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live) you’d expect The Bronze to at least possess some laughs. The fact that it doesn’t feels like a complete waste.

Out of the cast, Sebastian Stan as the perpetually arrogant Lance Tucker, who is a constant thorn in the side of Hope, is the only one who comes out of the film with a smidge of credit. Sebastian Stan plays being an asshole with a devilish delight, while it’s always a pleasure to see Gary Cole on the big screen, too.

To be fair to The Bronze, though, there is only one genuinely laugh-out-loud moment, which the entire film seems to build-up to and be based around. The scene in question features Melissa Rauch and Sebastian Stan using their gymnastic skills for some extra-curricular fun, and it’s on the same level as a particularly famous Team America: World Police scene. It’s just a shame that the rest of the film proves this moment of hilarity was an anomaly.

Sure, this slightly redeems The Bronze. But it’s still too little, too late. And, by the end, you’ll have winced, yawned, and wished that it would have concluded much sooner.

Gregory Wakeman