Wednesday, August 17, 2016
THE BRONZE (2016)
Directed By: Bryan Buckley
Written By: Melissa Rauch & Winston Rauch
Cinematography By: Scott Henriksen
Editor: Jay Nelson
Cast: Melissa Rauch, Haley Lu Richardson, Sebastian Stan, Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Cecily Strong, Dale Raoul, Craig Kilborn, Ellery Sprayberry
A foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist with local celebrity status reluctantly trains a rising Olympics aspirant.
I really was looking forward to this film and really wanted to like and enjoy it. As I feel most audience members will. Though there will be some like me who leave a little or in general disappointed.
That it keeps trying for, the problem is that it never sticks to it's Convictions when it's nice it goes too far into it and when it's mean it seems more at home but then all of a sudden develops a conscience and tries to keep going back to he dark side but gets pulled back into being sweet. So that the film feels constantly in flux and worse blatant.
The sex scene alone in this film that is filled with pinpoint gymnastics and choreography. Is so inspired that you wish the rest of the film would have taken chances and gone that far to be not only original bit with so much energy and effort. It ends up being really the only scene of note in the film.
The only other thing that seems as strong is Melissa Rauch's commanding performance. So that your enjoyment of the film will probably depend on how much you can stand her as a performer and her character in the film. As she grows on you. It also tries to add in the sweetness and earnestness of Haley Lu Richardson’s Energetic Maggie, character as she seems like she is here as a sweet distraction and a buddy type character who is the polar opposite. So that they can play off each other. She is just so cute it is impossible to hate her.
The film is not as sharp as it could be or as much as it tries to be.
The film hits the familiar beats while trying to stay dark. It just doesn't keep that mood whole staying consistent. While you know where it is going it ends up getting soft though keeps a darkness towards the end only changes the sides. So that there is good only still with some hard edges.
The film will probably remind the audience of the films of Director Jody Hill and Actor Danny Mcbride. (THE FOOT FIST WAY, OBSERVE & REPORT, EASTBOUND & DOWN, VICE PRINCIPALS) only this film doesn't have the courage to go all the way maybe to keep it's own spirit rather then be a copy. As it backs away form where it could go. Which might be it's design in the first place, but comes off as a film that is trying to get noticed for it's raunchy humor but then decides to go with it's own instincts which unfortunately ends up being a bit light in the long run.
As we have seen the unlikeable comedic character who we love to hate it or like and kindly root for as they say and do things we wish we could. Only here with a Midwestern accent and seems to learn a lesson as always. Though usually taking it in stride and leaving the character wiser but still generally the same.
The only thing that is different is that the main unlikeable character here is a woman. Which works as it seems that usually when it comes to characters such as here, they are usually supporting or left to be mean and bitchy yet not funny. If they are leads they suffer the same fate of a last minute change of heart which can feel misplaced or like a cop out. Which usually happens when Cameron Diaz plays the roles like in BAD TEACHER. The only film that seemed to have he bravery with a female lead was YOUNG ADULT and that was more of a drama. Here it makes a little more sense, but I wonder if it was for story they they soften her up or to make it more of a crowd pleaser. As in films like BAD SANTA or even ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL the characters keep a cynical heart and an acid tone until the end.
This is a comedy set in the Midwest that brings films like DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, SUGAR & SPICE and a more foul mouthed version of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE to mind. Though all of those are better directed.
The film never seems to achieve quite the laughs that it seems to aim for.
It sets up strong stakes early in the film that it never rises to and only seems to be there as a preparation for the places it can go, but unfortunately never does.
It also doesn't help that except for her and maybe one other character her successful rival. None of the other characters are jaded at all.
The film tries to surround itself In Cynicism and a tawdry attitude. Though you know it had a heart somewhere. So it all feels like an act and artificial. Like it is trying too hard. Which there is nothing wrong with, showing effort and all. There should be an effort that offers something more by the end though. This film is like the little engine that could it has an integrity.