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Melissa Rauch showcases her comedic chops in “The Bronze”

the bronze
If any of you are fans of The Big Bang Theory, then you probably also are a fan of Melissa Rauch. She has been an asset on that show for some time now as the squeaky voiced Bernadette Rostenkowski, but this weekend, Rauch shows off her skills in a whole new way with The Bronze, a comedy she co-wrote and stars in. It debuted last year the Sundance Film Festival, with its release finally coming our way on Friday. The movie should introduce her to a whole new audience, with the possibility existing that Rauch could wind up the next huge thing in big screen comedies.

The Bronze is a raunchy comedy centering on former Olympic gymnastics bronze medalist Hope Ann Gregory (Rauch). Ever since then, she’s been living off of the fame that got her, residing in the small town she grew up in and essentially living in a state of arrested development. Her father (Gary Cole) mostly enables her, but when a young girl in town (Haley Lu Richardson) appears set to be the next big Olympic thing, Hope has to keep her own star shining. To do this, she becomes her trainer, initially offering terrible advice but then getting down to business once a former flame/rival (Sebastian Stan) tries to claim her. Bryan Buckley directs from a script that Rauch co-wrote with Winston Rauch. As for the rest of the cast, in addition to Cole, Rauch, Richardson, and Stan, it includes Craig Kilborn, Thomas Middleditch, Dale Raoul, Cecily Strong, and more. This is very much a vehicle for Rauch though, and she sure makes the most of it, no doubt about that.

What works here is the turn given by Rauch, which is endlessly profane but also fairly charming as well. The film itself can be hit or miss at times, with some of the jokes being not nearly as funny as the filmmakers hope, but Rauch as an actress can mostly make it work. I’d love to see her get a chance to tackle a big screen comedy of this sort with a script from someone a bit more polished, as she’s got the chops to be a force in Hollywood. I’d even enjoy another screenplay she’d written/co-written, if she shaves off some of the rough edges. As a sample of what Rauch is capable of, this is an interesting tease. The movie is funny enough to work, though Rauch as a comedian stands tall above it all.

Awards wise, The Bronze isn’t going to really be a noteworthy player at all, as I expect it to have a middling reception, at best. If it does wind up contending for anything at all, it might wind up being for Rauch at the Independent Spirit Awards. She could potentially score a nomination in either Best Actress or Best First Screenplay, if things break the right way for her/the flick itself. It’s a pretty long shot, don’t get me wrong, but if anything ends up coming of this during the precursors, this is where you’d look for it to wind up happening.

Overall, The Bronze is a funny enough option for you this week, when it opens in theaters. If you see it, see it for Rauch, who could very well wind up a comedy star in the years to come. She’s already stealing scenes in The Big Bang Theory on a week to week basis, so a transition to film is only a matter of time for her. If she ever hooks up with someone like Judd Apatow, watch out, as that could lead to a huge comedy hit. In the meantime, give a shot to this film and see what you think. I suspect you’ll find it to be amusing enough to have been worth your time…

Be sure to check out The Bronze, in theaters on Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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