Movie Review

Ridiculously raunchy The Bronze can’t earn a medal — even in an Olympic year

Raunchy comedy The Bronze can’t earn a medal — even in an Olympic year

Raunchy comedies are a dime a dozen nowadays, with men and women getting in on the act equally. They’ve become so prevalent that the only thing that separates them is if the decision to go blue jibes with the story the filmmakers decided to tell.

That’s the big element that the makers of The Bronze forgot. It centers on Hope Greggory (Melissa Rauch), a former Olympic gymnast who won America’s heart after courageously fighting through injury to win a bronze medal in 2004. Twelve years later, though, she’s still coasting on that goodwill, expecting everybody up to and including her father (Gary Cole) to treat her as the hero she once was.

Circumstances lead to her having to coach a local up-and-coming Olympic hopeful, Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson), something she is loath to do. Assisted by Ben (Thomas Middleditch), an old friend, and shadowed by U.S. team coach Lance (Sebastian Stan), Hope must decide if she wants to move forward with her life or stay in the same old rut.

The beats to the story, written by Rauch and her husband Winston, are as standard as they come, almost as if they came out of a Screenwriting 101 textbook. To make up for that lack of creativity, they plaster the script with profanity, whether it’s warranted or not.

Hope is introduced as a foul-minded individual, as her first scene has her masturbating to her own medal-winning performance. But unlike successful raunchy comedies like Deadpool, Hope’s constant swearing serves no real purpose and gets old quickly.

The filmmakers try to juxtapose her with the unnaturally sweet and innocent Maggie, but that only makes Hope even more off-putting. The movie’s one big selling point — a supremely gymnastic sex scene between Hope and Lance — comes too little, too late in the plot to be anything more than a mildly amusing diversion.

Rauch, best known for her role on The Big Bang Theory, certainly commits to her role. But she also chooses to use a strange accent that doesn’t seem to be native to the film’s setting of Ohio, a choice that proves only slightly less distracting than her character’s profanity.

Cole is always a pleasure to see in action, although he doesn’t have a ton to do now. Richardson steals the show as the ingénue; she’ll likely have other similar roles coming her way soon.

With the next summer Olympics coming up in a few months, The Bronze had a chance to be a nice counterpoint to those games. But it fritters away any opportunity at success with storytelling clichés and lazy, unimaginative writing.

Melissa Rauch in The Bronze
Melissa Rauch in The Bronze. Photo by Tiffany Laufer, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Haley Lu Richardson in The Bronze
Haley Lu Richardson in The Bronze. Photo by Alicia Gbur, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Gary Cole in The Bronze
Gary Cole in The Bronze. Photo by Tiffany Laufer, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Melissa Rauch in The Bronze
Haley Lu Richardson in The Bronze
Gary Cole in The Bronze