The Big Bang Theory‘s Melissa Rauch opened this year’s Sundance Film Festival with her raunchy dramatic comedy The Bronze. Directed by Bryan Buckley, whose short film Asad garnered an Oscar nomination in 2013, and co-written by Rauch and her husband, the story follows an ex-Olympic bronze medalist gymnast as she rides her small-town fame into her thirties. When a new young athlete (Haley Lu Richardson) comes onto the scene, she resorts to sabotage in order to hold onto her remaining glory.
Criticisms for Rauch and her foul-mouthed “Eastbound & Down” (The Guardian) character, Hope, generally focus on the failed attempt at making an outrageous skit character matter for an entire film. Saturated with childish antics and dirty jokes throughout, many seem to have found the film tedious in the wait for Hope’s expected dramatic redemption toward the end of the film.
The comedy did receive some praise, however, for Thomas Middleditch’s (HBO’s Silicon Valley) performance as the local gym’s awkward manager and love interest for Hope – mainly owing to Middleditch’s own mastery of physical comedy.
The biggest laughs and consensual takeaway from the film came out of a shockingly funny “gymnastics sex” scene between Hope and her ex-gold and silver medalist boyfriend (portrayed by Sebastian Stan, Captain America), in which they presumably take athletic positions to a new level.
The laughs picked up by Rauch’s bad girl persona – however rude and crude they were – caught the attention of indie distributor Relativity Media. According to Deadline, the company has picked up the Duplass Brothers-produced comedy for a relatively wide release for the indie pic (numbers are being put around 600 screens nationwide), although a release date has not yet been set.