It’s always nice to be surprised by a film that exceeds expectation. Melissa Rauch co-wrote the screenplay with her husband and stars in this comedy drama that, at first glance, appears juvenile and irritating but quickly evolves into a surprisingly enjoyable film full of heart.
Rauch is Hope, a former gymnast who won a Bronze medal for her sport and earns a Gold medal in ego. Years later, she’s living off her one moment of glory which was forever stolen from her by an injury. She’s a local celebrity and milks it for all it’s worth.
Filled with anger, arrogance and no direction, Hope suddenly finds her star fading fast when Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson), a new Olympic aspirant, emerges in her home town. With a hefty financial reward at the end, Hope reluctantly begins training the new girl and soon learns there is a different way to keep shining.
While the story’s message is good and the journey to its predictable end is relatively fun, the Rauch writing team populate events with a cartel of one-dimensional, awful characters that no one would care to know. Only Hope gives hope as she evolves into the inspiration she should have been. Her father (Gary Cole) is a weak-willed wuss, Maggie is a brainless idiot, Maggie’s mother is a ridiculously devout Christian, the rival coach is a conniving scumbag, and so on. It’s hard to engage with any of the characters and, in fact, the only one we feel anything for is Hope once she begins to turn her life around. Until then, there’s nothing but a pantomime of clichéd characters.
Where the characters do work well, is to give the familiar storyline a fresh coat. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and there are a number of genuine laughs to be had throughout.
The Bronze won’t be winning any medals but it will pass muster for fans of sports films and light comedies.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 6
The Bronze is out now on DVD.