The Bronze Review
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With the Olympic Games coming to Rio this summer, there are sure to be new fan favorites, new heroes, and new headline-grabbing stories. But the Olympic comedy The Bronze focuses on what happens to those athletes years later, after the hype dies down and the endorsement deals dry up.

The Bronze catches up with former Olympic gymnast Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch), who’s spent the 12 years since winning a bronze medal in Rome resting on her laurels and taking handouts from her adoring fans in her hometown of Amherst, Ohio. After her former coach commits suicide, Hope receives a letter offering her $500,000 from her late coach’s estate to train young up-and-comer Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson) for the upcoming Olympics in Toronto. She reluctantly accepts the challenge—but she does so half-heartedly, knowing that she could be training her own replacement as local celebrity.

The Bronze is a whole lot of ego and not a lot of comedy, centering around a main character who’s almost entirely unlikable. Hope is self-centered and lazy, bitter and foul-mouthed. She treats her father (Gary Cole) like a servant, screaming and demanding and manipulating her way through life, and she treats everyone else in town like little more than desperate, dim-witted fans. And when she begins coaching Maggie, she sets out to sabotage the younger gymnast’s career to maintain her own position as the town’s Olympic medalist. As if all that weren’t already irritating enough, she also happens to live in a small Ohio town where everyone sounds not like Ohioans but like transplants from Fargo (the movie, not the city, since I’m assuming that the accent was exaggerated for the film).

Perhaps, when Hope’s equally ego-centric old flame shows up to question her coaching abilities and attempt to steal Maggie away, viewers are supposed to root for Hope to fight back and come out on top. But, really, it’s just one obnoxious jerk battling another—and it’s hard to care about either one.

This film could have had a lot to say about Olympic success—and what happens after the attention dies down—all with a comic twist. Admittedly there are a few moments when you might get an honest, sincere glimpse of the struggle. But it’s hidden behind the ego, the horrible behavior, the obnoxious accent, and the crude comedy that isn’t nearly as funny as it’s supposed to be.

If you’re gearing up for another round of Olympic games and you’re looking for some Olympic-themed viewing, try something more upbeat—like Eddie the Eagle. Or just stick with TV broadcasts of Olympic qualifying competitions instead.

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