By Mark Saldana
Rating: 1.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
After watching this film, I felt the title Bad Gymnast would have been more appropriate. Bad Santa, Bad Teacher, Bad Words, Bad Grandpa are all similar titles with nearly identical premises. A nasty, foul mouthed person has a change of heart and gets an opportunity at redemption. Even though not all of these films are actually bad, they all adopt the same tired and cliche plot. The main thing that makes the better ones watchable is that the humor works and offers enough entertainment to overlook the plot rehash.
As far as The Bronze is concerned, I wish the humor had worked because at least then, it would have some positive qualities going for it. Unfortunately, all of the humor involving the nasty behavior of the protagonist is not funny at all. It isn’t even all that shocking, if that’s what the filmmakers hope to accomplish. Not even the humor can save this Bad copycat from being the dud that it is.
Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) stars as Hope Annabelle Gregory, a one-time Olympic gymnast who may have only brought home a bronze medal, but whose determination won the hearts of the world. Several years later, Hope hasn’t accomplished anything with her life. She still lives with her father Stan (Gary Cole) and milks her local celebrity status for free-loading off of the local businesses. When a new local gymnastics star (Haley Lu Richardson) is on the rise, Hope reluctantly agrees to train her for the Olympics. Worried that she may lose her local celebrity status, Hope decides to sabotage the young prospect’s opportunity.
Written by Melissa and Winston Rauch, and directed by Bryan Buckley, The Bronze or Bad Gymnast pretty much plays out predictably and most of the attempts at humor bomb miserably. The redemption acts of the story do have some heartwarming moments, but it isn’t enough to save the film. Director Bryan Buckley’s work in the film is decent, but the material with which he has to work certainly won’t help his career much.
Regarding the acting, it actually is not bad. In fact it is actually pretty good. Melissa Rauch, who is best known as the sweet and adorable Bernadette in The Big Bang Theory, credibly and competently plays a character totally different from her television character. It is nice to see her take a role totally different from what she normally plays, but sadly it is in a movie with a terrible script. Another fine comedic talent Gary Cole also performs well as Hope’s loving and supportive father Stan. He delivers solid work here and provides some much needed heart in the film. The movie also features great work by Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong, and Haley Lu Richardson.
With all the great talent in this movie, I wish I could give this film a more favorable review. However, the derivative plot and poor comic writing make this a film I must pan. In a way, I hope this movie comes as a wake-up call to movie producers who want to continue milking the tired plot of “Bad Person Makes Good.” Then again, that all depends on how much money this film makes, and I cannot encourage my readers to spend their money to support this film.