Expectations can be an ever-changing bitch. It used to be that the opening-night film at Sundance didn’t really mean that much — but then one anomaly, “Whiplash” in 2014, changed everything. That set up unfortunate expectations for “The Bronze,” which held the opening-night slot earlier this year at the festival and was met with a mixed response. Now was that because the film wasn’t as visceral and crowd-pleasing as the cutthroat music-conservatory drama that came before it? Hard to say, plus “The Bronze” is a different beast which sounds like something more like “Bad Santa” set in the world of gymnastics.
“The Bronze” follows a bitter gymnast trying to hang onto her glory years after winning a bronze medal at the Olympics. We were shut out of the first screening at Sundance because of all the hype and expectations, and then didn’t bother with a catch-up because of the dull roar that followed. Our sister publication Indiewire said in their review that newcomer Melissa Rauch couldn’t salvage the unfunny comedy. But other reviews were kinder, so maybe there’s still hope.
The directorial debut of Bryan Buckley, “The Bronze” was written by the film’s star and her husband, Winston Rauch, as a vehicle to propel her unique brand of comedy forward. Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Haley Lu Richardson, Cecily Strong and Sebastian Stan also star. Sony Pictures Classics will release “The Bronze” on March 11, 2016. Watch the first trailer below.