Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Inexplicable Movie Review: The Bronze doesn’t medal, but tries hard

The Bronze is a truly bizarre, sometimes amusing movie, that was ultimately a little too bleak for me to really get into (and that I managed to see thanks to Redbox, and not Target). Melissa Rauch does most of the heavy-lifting in the low budget comedy, but as a result, there aren’t many good scenes left for talented supporting actors like Gary Cole (Bill Lundberg from Office Space, Harvey Birdman, Kent on Veep, and he’s in hundreds of other movies), Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live) and Thomas Middleditch (the Pied Piper creator in Silicon Valley).

Quick plot summary – Hope Ann Greggory (Rauch) is a bronze medalist in the all-around from the Athens Olympics, in Kerri Strug-like fashion. However, her career is essentially ruined after she tries to rush back from that injury, and she now spends her days stealing birthday money from cards in her dad’s mail truck, and her nights offering guys a doubleteam for drinks.

These parts are bleak, but funny. I figured I was in for a traditional sort of “redemption” story, as Hope’s old coach commits suicide and asks her in the note to continue training the new star pupil, Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson). It presents a moral dilemma for Hope, as she living on her past reputation as a bronze medalist, and doesn’t want anyone to upstage her.

From there, the movie takes some unconventional twists and turns, but most of them are unfortunately not all that fulfilling. You can’t see several of them coming, but this makes them more frustrating than amusing for a dark indie comedy. The first act of the movie is the best, as it contains Hope at the bottom in an amusing way, but the later acts are just psychologically unpleasant for her, and for us as the audience.

This extends to the supporting cast, and oddly enough, the best member is Richardson, a relative newcomer. She gets the juiciest part though, as the hyperactive and seemingly naïve Maggie. In a movie of moody, melancholy roles, she’s the one character that “pops” off the screen for most of it.

In contrast, Strong and Cole aren’t given much of anything to do. It’s frankly bizarre to see Strong playing Maggie’s single mother, since she’s 32 and Richardson is 21. Richardson looks too old to be Strong’s daughter, and Strong is mostly playing a straight role until the very end of the movie.

Cole is good in almost everything, which is why his IMDB has 155 credits as of October 2016. Seriously, take another look at it – He’s in so much awesome stuff, that he’s also awesome in, that it’s easy to overlook certain roles. He’s Bosco on Bob’s Burgers! He’s been on 44 episodes of Family Guy and he’s on Angie Tribeca! Archer! 30 Rock! Curb!

But, he’s also from the Christopher Walken School of Role Choices, and he probably needs to vet what he’s in a tiny bit more. By that, I mean that he’s not really given much to work with in this flick, and he’s particularly menacing and unappealing in one scene. He’s not bad, but with Cole (and Strong, and Middleditch) you get the feeling that there was more to work with her with some script revisions or more takes.

The movie being low budget clearly shows at times – As I just mentioned, it feels like they could have done more reshoots after realizing how dark some of what happens is. The quality of the film is also bizarre at times, and all of the gymnastics scenes are iffy. Karen watched this with me and was not impressed.

Sony probably picked this movie up because the Olympics were in 2016, but holy hell, it DEFINITELY earns its R-rating. It is a hard R, with swearing throughout, drug usage and a surprising amount of nudity. Don’t watch this if you want to re-experience that Olympics buzz, and definitely don’t watch this anywhere near children. But, if you’re looking for a dark, foul-mouthed comedy, it’s worth the $1.50 Redbox rental.

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