Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rauch and raunch in the gymnasty/feel-goody sports, sex and drugs movie, THE BRONZE

Full of raunch and Rauch (the Melissa variety), one of this week's theatrical debuts, THE BRONZE would like to be a very naughty, very dirty exploration of sports and would-be stardom. But what it really wants is to give you a typical feel-good time at the movies. That it manages both of these fairly well is to the film's credit. But whether this is worth the price of a night out at your local theater is somewhat questionable, given the cost these days of admission, popcorn and baby-sitter (you do not want to take the kids to see this one).

As written by its star and her husband, Winston Rauch, and directed by Bryan Buckley (shown at left), the movie begins as a kind of can-you-top-this? wallow in dirty talk and bad behavior and then slowly turns its tables so that we begin to like its leading character -- a former bronze-winning gymnast who, while competing, had an awful accident, after which she continued competing under very dire circumstances, which allowed her to take home that third-place medal and then coast on its fame for a decade or more.

All this has made our little girl a walking, cussing horror, and her road back to quasi-normalcy is a relatively interesting one, peopled by fun and funny characters and achieved via only tiny increments, so that we can better accept this major change and where it will lead her.

Via plot turns that prove alternately predictable and surprising, she becomes involved with an up-and-coming talented gymnast (the sweet and delightful Haley Lu Richardson, above), her encouraging mom (SNL's Cecily Strong),

a former lover and competitor (Sebastian Stan, above, who engages with Ms Rauch in a funny, lengthy sex-by-gymnasts scene that is indeed one for the books!), and our heroine's father (Gary Cole, below) who has spoiled his daughter into a return to near-infancy and must now find some way to atone for this and help change her course.

Also on board is the lap-dog fellow with a twitch or two who's been carrying a torch for our heroine for most of his life (Thomas Middleditch, below. left). It all works out for the best, and even, occasionally, in ways that will surprise and amuse you. If you're not too picky. TrustMovies is damning with faint praise, I know. But so be it. There's nothing terribly wrong with The Bronze. But there just isn't a whole lot that's great about it, either. It's pleasant enough (even when it's being raunchy) and will entertain you adequately.

From Sony Pictures Classics and running 108 minutes, the film opened yesterday all over the place. Click here and then keep scrolling down to find the theater nearest you.

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