This patchy comedy about a cossetted, obnoxious gymnast who has slid deep into sloth in the decade or so since her Olympic triumph gets an occasional laugh from the American ills it sends up: jingoism, the sports-industrial complex, home-schooling, fast-food gluttony. The scattershot jabs pepper the flaccid storyline of the rehabilitation of Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch), that bratty uneven-bar has-been. But while the plot of The Bronze may be flabby, Rauch's delivery is taut and tart: Even if the lines Rauch wrote for herself miss more than they hit, they way she says them often kills.
Now in her late 20s, Hope, still living with her outrageously indulgent widower dad (Gary Cole), spends her days revisiting her past glory, diddling herself as she watches the tape of her third-place finish at the 2004 Games -- a miraculous feat, considering that she completed her routine with a torn Achilles. Milking her status as Amherst, Ohio's most famous resident, the ex-Olympian gorges on complimentary food-court slop and discount cannabis, always clad in an Old Glory warm-up suit ("This is what heroes wear!") and sporting the bangs-and-ponytail hairstyle of Nadia Comăneci circa '76. Hope’s path to redemption, hastily introduced and flailingly executed, demands that she train sunny, worshipful teen Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson) and go soft for Ben (Thomas Middleditch), a too-nice guy prone to face spasms.
The Bronze marks the feature directorial debut of Bryan Buckley, a veteran helmer of Super Bowl commercials, who here stages a sex scene between Hope and another 2004 Olympian as a riotous floor exercise.