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The Bronze - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The Bronze
Directing: B-
Acting: B
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B

The Bronze isn't bad. It's not exactly great either. It's fine. This is one of those middle-of-the-road, perfectly okay movies that you don't regret seeing if you go out for it, but neither are you missing much if you don't. I suppose you might as well save the money and watch it on Netflix later. There's nothing about this movie that demands being seen on the big screen.

I just happen to love going to the movies, and this one was playing at the theatre closest to where I live. It worked for a Sunday afternoon. I'm a SIFF member so the ticket was only seven bucks. I don't feel ripped off. I'll also completely forget this movie soon enough.

If there's anything about its production that makes it interesting, it's that the script was written by the movie's star, Melissa Rauch, who is best known as Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory, and her husband, Winston Rauch. It's the first feature film either of them has written. It's a fairly strong film for a debut, at least.

And it's kind of a kick to see Bernadette transformed into Hope Greggory, a ridiculously foul-mouthed, spoiled has-been gymnastics star. She only won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics -- hence the title -- but she managed to do so after a serious injury that prevented her from getting the gold. It was a miraculous comeback that gave her a fame that she's still riding on in her hometown in Ohio over a decade later.

But now her old coach, from whom Hope is estranged, is working with a new upstart named Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson). Hope winds up tasked with coaching Maggie through trials and on to the Olympics. She juggles this with a budding romance with Ben (Thomas Middleditch), a childhood acquaintance who works at the gym; and a sustained rivalry with Lance (Sebastian Stan), the guy she lost her virginity to and who is angling to coach Maggie himself. Oh, and her enabling pushover father (Gary Cole), with whom she still lives.

That story in itself doesn't sound particularly compelling, does it? Blah blah, yawn. To a fair degree, The Bronze actually is pretty standard throwaway stuff, following a story arc that offers pretty much zero surprises.

But, some of the details make it fun. Like Hope's verbal gymnastics with foul language. And even Ben's facial ticks, the reason Hope has always called him "Twitchy," which Thomas Middleditch somehow manages to make endearing. Even Haley Lu Richardson's wide-eyed innocence as Maggie is endearing. I suppose that's the best word for the best parts of The Bronze -- endearing. It could be grating, the way a movie like Napoleon Dynamite can be, but it never is, even though it's going for a similar tone.

There's not much in the way of convincing viewers one way or another with a movie like this one. You'll either like it or you won't, and there are no arguments to change anyone's mind. It has some pretty funny parts. It could have used more. It's never dull. It's flawed but if taken on its own terms, it works anyway. Just consider this one another to toss on the pile of movies that are fun but forgettable.

Thomas Middleditch and Melissa Rauch add a little weird romance to THE BRONZE.

Overall: B-
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