Melissa Rauch of Big Bang Theory stars as Hope Ann Greggory, a small town gymnast whose life has not moved on in the years since she won a bronze medal at the Olympics. She’s foul-mouthed and does nothing to support herself, instead living off her single dad mailman, played by Gary Cole. Hope regularly opens mail and steals cash from her father’s mail truck. She coasts along by playing off her almost-forgotten celebrity, getting free meals at local fast food joints in her small hometown of Amherst, Ohio.

Hope seems content with this existence, but then an opportunity arises to become the 2-5 starscoach for a talented young gymnast named Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson). As with everything she does in the movie, her motivations are purely selfish. A crisis late in the plot makes her reconsider what she’s doing and why she’s doing it. And if Hope had been presented as a real character, perhaps we’d care more about her decision.

There are jokes along the way that function to remind us we’re watching a comedy. It’s impossible to think we’re watching a real person who happens to be in funny situations. The comedy doesn’t come from any kind of human experience, it just hits us over the head. Hope is a one-dimensional swearing machine for most of the movie, and at one point, she casually offers herself up to two men in exchange for a drink. The point of the scene seems to be just to give her an excuse to say or suggest something filthy, but that seems to be the point of the whole movie.

The most memorable moment is an impressive sex scene between two gymnasts who achieve a variety of positions that defy physics and physiology. It’s the funniest sex scene in a movie since the puppets in Team America:World Police rubbed their formless plastic bodies together.

The Bronze has a main character that is essentially unlikable for most of the movie, and that’s because she’s played purely for laughs. At one point, Gary Cole references Hope’s mom dying when she was just six months old. Rather than give us even a glimpse at a sincere aspect of their single-parent relationship, that might explain the decisions both Hope and her father make in the movie, that bit of information is given to us in a throwaway punchline.

The Bronze is funny. But with just a little more depth, we could care about this character and her story a lot more.

Title The Bronze
Director Bryan Buckley
Starring Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson
Writer Melissa Rauch, Winston Rauch
Production Duplass Brothers Productions
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