Life can be rough for athletes after their career ends.  Some continue in other areas of their sports, some find other interests, and some try to keep trying to relive their glory days.  The latter is the beginning for the expletive-filled comedy The Bronze.

Back in 2004, Hope Annbelle Greggory was an American Olympic gymnast.  When she injured her ankle and continues on to win the bronze medal, she became America's sweetheart.

Jump ahead to 2012, and Hope (Melissa Rauch) is still obsessed with her former fame and career -- in quite a unique way in the opening scene.  She lives in Amherst, Ohio, cursing at and insulting everyone who doesn't treat her as a superstar.  She has no time for young up-and-coming, ultra-nice gymnast Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson), and she refers to gym owner Ben Lawfort (Thomas Middleditch) as "Twitch" due to his facial tics.  Hope lives with her postman father Stan (Gary Cole) -- yelling at him as much as everyone -- and she gets money from an allowance from him, along with stealing money from letters before her father can deliver them.  She drinks, does, drugs, and will have sex in exchange for very little.  And she always wears the tracksuit she got in the Olympics.
When her father cuts off her allowance and locks up his mail truck, Hope sort of starts looking for a job.  Then an unexpected opportunity comes along: Before Hope's former and Maggie's current coach killed herself, she sent a letter to Hope leaving her $500,000 -- conditional on Hope training Maggie.  At first Hope is fine slacking off and even hurting Maggie's shot at the Olympics, getting Maggie to eat so much junk food she develops a "beer gut."  But them Olympics gold and silver winner Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan) turns up as in charge of the American gymnastics team and wants to take over Maggie's training, so Hope starts taking her coaching job seriously.  Then it's a path to the Olympic trials, then the Olympics, and whether Hope will help Maggie eclipse her former fame.
The humor in The Bronze comes almost exclusively comes from Hope's never-ending stream of cursing, insults, and selfishness -- and that's far from enough to sustain the film.  Melissa Rauch doesn't bring much to make her character any more likable or sympathetic through the film, giving us a protagonist who's pretty terrible from start to finish.  There are scattered funny moments through the movie -- notably a gymnastics-filled sex scene -- but the story arc is predictable, the romantic subplot feels inauthentic and tacked on, and The Bronze is, in the end, forgettable except for the copious amount of profanity.

Overall grade: C-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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