Happy Birthday: Melissa Rauch

melissarauch.jpgHappy Birthday actor Melissa Rauch

Born: June 23, 1980 in USA






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Movie Review: THE BRONZE. Director: Bryan Buckley

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the_bronzeTHE BRONZE (ISA 2015) ***
Directed by Bryan Buckley

Starring: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson

Review by Gilbert Seah

THE BRONZE is a feel good crowd pleaser about a has-been foul-mouthed bronze gymnastic medallist that makes it good. The trouble with feel-good films like the recent EDDIE THE EAGLE is that it is too formulaic, with all the right buttons pushed that everything is predictable right up to the secret smile of a coach to the end credits. Fortunately for THE BRONZE, the niche of the lead character being a foul mouth breaks the trend – a little anyway.

It all began a decade ago when Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) was America’s sweetheart. Her inspired performance on a ruptured Achilles at the world’s most prestigious gymnastics tournament clinched an unlikely bronze medal for the U.S. team and brought glory to her hometown of Amherst, Ohio. But in the years since that epic third place victory, Hope has wasted her life. Still living in her too loving/possessive dad Stan’s (Gary Cole) basement, still sporting her daily uniform of a Team USA gym suit with teeny-bopper bangs, ponytail and scrunchie, she spends her days at the mall milking her minor celebrity for free food and favours.

Hope’s routine is upended when she learns that she must coach Amherst’s newest gymnastics prodigy Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson) in order to receive a sizeable financial inheritance. Hope is faced with a serious dilemma: whether to jeopardize her “hometown hero” status by devotedly training this rising star to achieve the dreams she never could?

The film plays like STRANGERS WITH CANDY, another comedy with a lead character similar to Coach Hope’s. In fact Melissa Rauch’s mannerisms in THE BRONZE are so similar to the lead’s in STRANGERS WITH CANDY that one wonders if she uses that film as her inspiration. It works anyway. The success of THE BRONZE lies largely on Rauch’s nuanced performance and she delivers it right up to the very end with her very vulgar end credits rendering of the rap song called “F That”.

Some things are still predictable in the script like her romance, her turning over a new leaf and her final making-up with her long suffering father.

Director Buckley serves his humour without constraint. The gymnastic sex segment is a prime example of humour gone bonkers. A second example is the the vulgar F That song at the end credits.

The gymnast competition segments are also exciting enough – executed with superior camera work and choreographed synchronicity.

Buckley also approaches the film with a no-nonsense approach. The first 10 minutes of the film, for example are used to establish Hope’s character – ranging from user (getting free favours at the local mall from her past glory) to sympathetic (aiding an invalid with money to fix his wheel chair). Her one-liner “I’m a star, not a coach,” effectively captures all that needs to be shown. In a similar way, this is a comedic version of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY HOPE?

Not too preachy, sufficiently hilarious, well shot with a prize performance from the lead actress Rauch, THE BRONZE is an entertaining enough time waster.


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