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Sundance Reviews: ‘The Bronze’ Is “Potty-Mouthed,” “Vinegar-Spirited,” Racy Gymnast Comedy

Sundance Reviews: 'The Bronze' Is "Potty-Mouthed," "Vinegar-Spirited," Racy Gymnast Comedy

Early reviews are in for first-feature director Bryan Buckley’s Sundance opening night premiere “The Bronze,” starring “The Big Bang Theory”‘s Melissa Rauch as a washed-up ex-gymnast and onetime bronze medalist who must defend her celebrity when a young Olympic hopeful rises in her folksy Ohio hometown.

Co-written by Rauch and husband Winston Rauch, and produced by the usually dependable Duplass Brothers, “The Bronze” boasts a sex scene you could see from space, according to Indiewire, but is upping the raunch factor enough to make the ribald comedy a Park City hot ticket? Reviews are discouraging, but folks may still be compelled to check this one out for its crass humor.

Variety reports that Relativity Studios has made an offer to buy “The Bronze,” which was backed by Sony, who may decide to keep it. A24 is also reportedly circling the picture.

Variety: “In the cranky, foul-mouthed tradition of bad grandpas, bad teachers, bad Santas and so forth, “The Bronze” unveils yet another vinegar-spirited comedic antihero: the bad sport. Catapulting herself into the public eye, “The Big Bang Theory’s” Melissa Rauch stars as Hope Ann Greggory, an Olympic has-been who’s ridden the celebrity of her third-place gymnastics medal about as far as it will take her. While commercial enough to go the distance, Rauch’s caustic character sketch feels similarly over-stretched, landing easy laughs over and over with the same joke: a twisted take on the sort of America’s sweetheart even Tonya Harding couldn’t tarnish.”

THR: “‘The Bronze’ is a strident comedy made in accordance with the sole guiding principle of, when in doubt, go even more vulgar. Co-written by and starring ‘The Big Bang Theory’’s Melissa Rauch as a frightful creature who makes Melissa McCarthy’s trademark characters look like the quintessence of elegant sophistication, the film stews in the bile of a small town former gymnastics medalist who’s lived in the past ever since and feels the need to spread her misery to everyone she encounters. Fans of the comedy of meanness and pure gross-out humor will provide a certain commercial base, although the film could easily use at least ten minutes removed to cut down on the redundant jokes and scenes.”

The Guardian: “The first act of the film wins some laughs on surrealist shock humour, but at the expense of ever accepting this character and her world as real. When a series of plot contortions force Hope to become the coach of an up-and-coming goodie-two-shoes gymnast (Haley Lu Richardson), ‘The Bronze’ decides to go heavy on the mush, with training montages, treacly music and a love story. Once this happens, all the air is let out of this movie. It’s as if ‘South Park’ were to suddenly ask you to care about Cartman’s character development. Not that ‘The Bronze’ is anywhere near as funny as ‘South Park.'”

JoBlo.com: “It’s really too bad that the film goes so horribly awry early on. This could have really worked, with even the obvious low-budget (which includes the most laughably ramshackle Olympic ceremony ever shot) not being too much of a detriment, even if the scope is somewhat beyond the resources available. It all really comes down to a main character that just feels totally misjudged. A little outrageousness is good, but it’s a thin line. Sadly, ‘The Bronze’ feels like a film that had all the ingredients for a breakout indie comedy, but just totally screwed up the recipe nonetheless. Too bad.”

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