There’s a double-standard when it comes to raunchy comedy. We tend to tolerate it from men (and by tolerate, I mean we roll our eyes or shake our heads). But from women? Unacceptable.
One of the entertainment industry’s dirtiest comics, “The Love Bug” co-star Buddy Hackett (news to you if you’ve never heard his lounge act), figured-out a way around our sensibilities. The juxtaposition of foul content and his squeaky demeanor was both disarming and hysterical. Likewise, Melissa Rauch, “Big Bang Theory’s” impish microbiologist Bernadette, gets away with the same in her new comedy, “The Bronze.”
Rauch is Hope Ann Greggory, a sarcastic washed-up Olympian who drops so many f-bombs I thought this one was directed by Martin Scorsese. (In fact, it’s directed by Bryan Buckley.) But it’s not gratuitous. Hope is bitter, caustic and genuinely doesn’t give a flip. Back in 2004, the then-17 year old gymnast miraculously took home a bronze medal after suffering an ankle injury that ultimately derailed her career. Since then, she’s been living off her celebrityhood in her small Ohio hometown. Free lunch at Subway, free shoes from the mall, etc.…
Her supportive father (Gary “Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow” Cole) has tried everything to get the woman-child to accept her fate and move on, but only a threat to her legacy — up and coming gymnast Maggie Townsend (“Ravenswood’s” Haley Lu Richardson) — and an attached bequest prove an effective call to action.
Rauch, who penned the screenplay with husband Winston, proves to be a competent and versatile comic. Some of the funniest moments have her sabotaging Maggie’s training via diet (she may be the first Olympic hopeful with a beer belly) and later working on presentation.
Overall, “The Bronze” is formulaic and predictable but has a redeeming indie-feel and when Maggie betrays her mentor like Tom Cruise in “The Color of Money” (Oh, I probably should have preceded that with a spoiler alert), it is a bona fide transformative moment for Hope, who succumbs to her vulnerability, develops a sense of community, and reinvents herself.
I could have done without the Cirque du Soleil gymnastic sex scene (I give it an 8.3 by the way) but overall this one is not without charm though you have to wait until the third act for it to gel.
Big Screen Theory
Some had film careers before the autotrophs began to drool, others only recently, but all of the principal members of the cast of the popular TV show “The Big Bang Theory” have left a mark on popular cinema.
Johnny Galecki, Sheldon’s physicist roommate Leonard Hofstadter, made his big screen debut as Rusty Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” gradually working up to larger roles in Tom Cruise’s “Vanilla Sky” and Will Smith’s super-antihero film, “Hancock.”
Jim Parsons, string theorist and resident know-it-all Sheldon Cooper, had a small cameo in 2011’s “The Muppets” and a more significant role in the Jack Black and Steve Martin comedy “The Big Year” as bird blogger Crane.
Kaley Cuoco, aspiring actress Penny, Penny, Penny, gave it the old community college try as Maureen McCormick in the 2000 adaptation of Barry Williams’ book “Growing Up Brady” (I seriously have to track this one down), and last year’s “The Wedding Ringer.”
Kunal Nayyar, particle astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali, voiced Gupta in “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”
Probably most prolific is Simon Helberg, aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz. Among his many roles were small ones in 2002’s “Van Wilder,” the critically acclaimed “Good Night, and Good Luck,” and the not-so acclaimed “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.” He also played a rabbi in the 2009 Coen Brothers film “A Serious Man” which featured Lourdes alum Jessica McManus.