HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Bronze
HTS Overall Score:69
The quirky and decidedly offbeat trailer (and of course the inclusion of “The Big Bang Theory’s” Melissa Rauch) had me MORE than eager to check out the indie comedy and I was having a blast putting the trailer on repeat until I could review the disc. Sadly what’s funny in a trailer sometimes doesn’t exactly translate into a good feature film with nearly 2 hours of content. In fact, the movie really feels like it would be better off as a Saturday Night Live sketch instead of the one note comedy that kept ringing the same bell over and over again. Sure there were some funny parts, but the majority of “The Bronze” just harps on the fact that Melissa Rauch is an adorably cute pint sized gymnast who says shockingly dirty things over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Thus we’re supposed to keep laughing and cheer for her overly typical and clichéd redemption arc.
Hope Annabelle Gregory (Melissa Rouch) pulled off an insane miracle back in the 2004 Olympics. After busting her Achilles tendon and appearing to be in incredible pain, she manages to finish her gymnastics routine, earning a Bronze medal in the process and earning a spot in the hearts of America. Now, 12 years later, she’s a washed up has been, riding on the adulation she once had in her hick hometown in Amhearst Ohio. Now she’s a narcissistic and vindictive witch who takes advantage of all the goodwill around her. Getting free drinks, free food and free everything else by stealing out of her overly docile father’s postal service van, Hope scrounges by with a sense of bitter entitlement that should make anyone and everyone hate her. The sad thing is that she’s still adored by her stupid town mates, which perpetuates the continual cycle of her over entitlement.
After her old Gymnast coach dies in an apparent suicide, Hope is tasked with finishing the training of her prize pupil, Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson), for the sum of $500,000 from the dead woman’s estate. Biting her tongue and trying to have a SEMBLANCE of decency while she grubs for the obvious payout, Hope puts in the effort to make the young girl into an Olympic star. Everything is just a bit TOO easy in “The Bronze”. We have the nerdy guy who wants to date Hope, even though he’s incredibly sweet and Hope is basically Kerry Strug with the personality of Tanya Harding with a crowbar. Then we have Gary Cole (“yeahhhhhhhhhhh, I’m going to have to have you come in on Saturday Peter”… otherwise known as the annoying boss from “Office Space”) as a milk sop of a father who refuses to discipline his daughter, and then the overly clichéd redemption arc where Hope actually starts to warm up to everyone around her and gain some semblance of her humanity back. Basically a by the numbers plot.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75521[/img]Melissa Rouch and her husband Winston must REALLY seem to have a fascination with making Hope into a foul mouthed one note comedian here. In reality the ONLY thing that the film has going for it IS the shock factor at a pint sized and adorable girl spouting out obscenity after obscenity in hopes that the audience will laugh hilariously at the juxtaposition. Sure, sometimes a joke strikes home, and I was initially giggling hysterically at some of the gags, but after about 10-15 minutes I realized that the jokes weren’t GOING anywhere. Instead they just repeated themselves over and over until director Bryan Buckley realized that they had to go with the redemption arc as you can only make a foul mouthed girl spouting foul mouthed things funny for so long.
The repetition of the film, combined with the unlikeable main hero schtick just wears on the viewer after a while. I had a few yucks along the way, but there’s not enough meat and potatoes in the script to really blast past a funny concept and make it into a funny movie. Well, except for probably the funniest sex scene I’ve ever seen, but beyond that everything is just wildly clichéd and so overly narcissistic that suspension of reality is really hard to do. I really WANTED (and I mean REALLY wanted) to like “The Bronze” as I adore Melissa Rauch, but whatever this was, is NOT something I’m willing to subject myself to again.
Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout and some drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75529[/img]“The Bronze” is given a fairly standard looking encode, taken from a digital master that looks pleasing to the eye on all fronts. The movie isn’t overly sharp and there is some definite softness to some of the shots, but the colors are bright and cheery, with some incredibly vivid pop with the primary colors (just look at Maggie’s glitzy blood red leotard), and a naturally graded look that just screams “homey”. Sometimes the white levels tend to be blown out just a teensy bit, with some pale skin complexions, otherwise the facial details look very natural, but we do have a few moments of black crush here and there. Fine detailing is generally pleasing, albeit mildly soft, and closeups tend to bring more focus to the image than the background images (which tend to look a bit blurry, although seemingly intentional as you can see the focus of the lens zooming in on the foreground).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75537[/img]Much like the video encode, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA English track is quite pleasing, but doesn’t exactly stand out as stellar. This is a comedy first and foremost, so you can expect a fairly standard and by the numbers track that is decidedly front heavy for a majority of the time. Dialog is crisp and clear, with a nice balance with the limited effects, but there are some more bombastic moments to the track, usually involving music of some sort. Just listen to Maggie’s entrance in the Toronto games as Britney Spears blares over all 6 speakers with incredible forcefulness and thundering LFE. Surrounds tend to get used mostly during those bombastic bits, but there is some mild ambient noise that keeps them from fading into the background during the more front heavy moments. Overall, a pleasing track that does what is asked of it and does so with apparent ease.
• Delete Scenes
• Official Trailer
“The Bronze” had some potential as a quirky, indie, raunchy comedy. Even going so far as to have me completely enamored with the trailer and description, but sadly the trailer had most of the funny parts, and the character development was basically nil. Combine that with a nearly 2 hour movie that feels better suited to a Saturday Night Live skit and I was left wanting for quite a bit more than the movie actually offered. Certain parts of the goofball comedy were beyond hysterical, but Rauch did very little to expand the concept past the single note jokes that were shown in the trailer. Sony did a solid job with the Blu-ray, going so far as to have 3 full lossless audio tracks on board as well as a very impressive looking video encode, but the lack of extras and follow through with the script left me feeling very cold about the whole. Honestly I would leave it for a rental if you really must see it, otherwise I would just skip it and look for something else to tickle the funny bone.
Starring: Melissa Rouch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson
Directed by: Bryan Buckley
Written by: Melissa and Winston Rauch
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DVS 5.1, Thai DD 5.1
Studio: Sony Picture Classics
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Buy The Bronze On Blu-ray at Amazon
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