Release Date: March 18, 2016
Director: Bryan Buckley
Writer: Melissa Rauch, Winston Rauch
Cast: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong, Dale Raoul, Hannah Alexandria, Dyrell Barnett, Cassandra Baun, Stephanie Bertoni, Brian Binder, Sarah Marie Claire Brooks, Alicia Caple, Stephanie Caple, Kyle Carthens, Alan Cliffe, Ricardo Colon, Ed Conrad, Kathie Dice, Dave Durch
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes
Production Company: Duplass Brothers Productions, Sony Pictures Classics
Genre: Comedy, Drama
The Bronze is such an interesting title choice. It’s not the most satisfying award when it comes to placement, but still gains a fair amount of respect. For not being number one in its category, curiosity rises on why such a decision was made in the naming of this film. The title certainly fits the story, but it doesn’t contain a strong foundation to carry it along. What makes matters worse is the main and supporting cast fail to bring anything to the table to balance things out. They’re all either unrealistic, disrespectful, or just simply bad. When I first viewed the trailer I didn’t like it, but I thought this would be somewhat of a surprise, or at least a passable film that isn’t my cup of tea. With lowered expectations I’m still disappointed with not only the quality of the film, but with the knowledge that a few million dollars was wasted on such dry material.
Not to say dry humor is bad, because that’s far from the truth. I love dry humor, especially since it’s part of my personality. But dry humor only works when it’s backed by truth or necessity. This isn’t the case with our main character Hope (Melissa Rauch). Sure, if someone is being a jackass with no regard to the people around them, a little sarcastic dry humor is welcomed to put that individual in their place. But Hope goes around being rude to everyone even when they’re nice to her. It also doesn’t help that we’re introduced to her character as she masturbates to her own footage of gymnastics. Then she continuously disrespects her father Stan (Gary Cole), even though he is still raising, feeding, sheltering, and looking out for her at the age of 28. Hope doesn’t work, nor wants to work, and yet she still complains that her $500.00 a week allowance isn’t enough. This is all horrible and provides zero reason to support her character. Step Brothers succeeded here because their parents didn’t accept the behavior and took action. Stan didn’t do anything.
At least the film could give us a valid, realistic reason why she’s in such a bad place, but it never does. Other than her getting hurt, there’s no real dramatic effect, parental loss (that we can see or is fleshed out), or sensible reason given her mental capacity. Hope is also an extreme whoremonger. Again for no reason! At the drop of a dime she’s offering herself up to be gangbanged if someone will buy her a drink, and assumes men only want to date her so they can have sex with a past athlete. It’s not for money or food, or because of daddy issues. The writer just decided to throw that in the mix for grins, which serves no purpose for the character or overall story.
All of the surrounding characters are extremely paper thin too. Her father has no respect for himself (I guess that’s where Hope gets it from). Lance (Sebastian Stan), an old flame of Hope’s, is obviously bitter about something in his past and is condescending to others just for kicks, and Janice (Cecily Strong) is as dumb as a door knob. Janice is the type of character that if she were a roach she would buy Raid, thinking it was deodorant. Knowing the Olympic gold medal is on the line, Janice decides to receive help from a coach that only feeds her donuts and bacon cheeseburgers. She didn’t ask any questions, but went on for the ride. Even when she gained thirty pounds, and could barely walk, she didn’t address this type of training. It’s literally as if she had no brain. At this point absolutely nothing made sense, and everything was so farfetched that the Power Rangers could’ve showed up and fought Lord Rita on the balance beam for five minutes mid-screen with no one noticing. Yet the writer and director expect the audience to accept this.
Usually it’s the other way around, but I wanted to save the worst for last. I don’t always want deep characters that make me think far into space about my own existence. For the most part, I just want someone to relate to, or characters that are somewhat realistic. The fact that the character Ben (Thomas Middleditch) was so in love with Hope is beyond frustrating. Five minutes into their first date Hope is spread eagle, yet this is ok with Ben. He’s not turned off in the slightest. Hope as a whole is one of the most annoying characters that has hit the big screen. Her voice is equivalent to nails on a chalkboard, but someone on the writing team, thought this would be clever. For ninety minutes of the film, she struts around with the same Olympic jogging suit on that becomes disgusting to look at. For a small while her character started to come around and evolve into someone that has experienced growth. Then the film decides to shoot itself in the foot, turning back around, to end her character arc with the same poor attitude and get up she started with. I can understand a film being not for me, and hilarious to others, but this film fails on all fronts. Watching paint dry would be more entertaining.