The Bronze, starring Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory), flips into theaters today and is receiving some of the lowest marks of the year from critics. Teetering very close to a single-digit Rotten Tomatoes score (currently at 11%), this crude gymnastics film is obviously flawed, but is it really that bad? I personally don’t think so. Now, I can’t really defend the movie, in fact, I can’t even say that it’s good, but I can tell you this; I enjoyed watching it.
Rauch wrote the script with her husband, Winston. It has an interesting premise that features a once-glorious child gymnast years removed from her heyday and it plays like a comedy version of VH1’s Where Are They Now?. Rauch is Hope Ann Gregory, a local celebrity from small-town Ohio that made her mark at the 2004 Olympics by fighting through an Achilles injury and performing remarkably on the uneven bars, propelling her team/country to the bronze medal. Fast forward to present day and Hope Ann is doing a whole lotta nada, still dressing in the same Olympic warmup suit, with the same girly hairstyle, and using her local celebrity status to score free Sbarro’s and pot. She’s selfish, brash, and a bit ridiculous, spewing venom in a high-pitched voice with an over-the-top Midwestern accent. When her former coach dies, a Brewster’s Millions-type scenario emerges in which Hope Ann must coach a rising star through the upcoming Olympics in order to receive a hefty inheritance.
The Bronze feels like a successful SNL skit that isn’t equipped to be a full-length movie, but it has it’s moments. It’s breezy and it goes down easy, but the compelling setup quickly turns to predictable formula. It gets points though for being comfortable in it’s own skin. Rauch’s character is somewhat polarizing. She’s kind of a bitch and I can see some folks being annoyed by her bad attitude and unruly behavior, but I found her antics to be mostly amusing. The idea of an America’s Sweetheart-style gymnast like Kerri Strug snorting Claritin and rapping vulgar lyrics brings a smile to my face. Hope Ann doesn’t give a fuck and that makes for fun viewing.
The Bronze has similarities to another flawed-but-enjoyable sports movie that people are eating up right now, Eddie the Eagle (76% on Rotten Tomatoes). I liked Eddie, but I find it laughable that it’s somewhat acclaimed and The Bronze is so derided, when they’re both formulaic, clichéd, underdog sports movies with flimsy supporting characters. Nothing in The Bronze annoyed me like the disgustingly saccharine score in Eddie the Eagle and though Eddie is still the better movie, I appreciate that The Bronze wasn’t trying so hard to win me over. For better or worse, it is what it is.
2.75 out of 5 Nerdskulls
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