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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of The Bronze & Allegiant

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for another ho-hum late-winter double-bill. On the docket: gymnastics comedy The Bronze, and the third installment in the Divergent series, Allegiant. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you won't have learnt already from trailers and the usual Internet scuttlebutt. 
First up: The Bronze. A former Olympic sweetheart is coerced into coaching another hopeful from her small Ohio town. Dear Reader(s), many of you are well aware that being a Sebastian Stan fan is a hard row to hoe. My first encounter with Stan was his stellar turn in the brilliant-but-short-lived TV series Kings. 
Unfortunately, outside a lucky spot at Captain America's side, his projects surrounding that one bright, shining moment have been complete crap, and I can declare with authority that The Bronze ranks among the worst. And when a guy's resume includes The Covenant...well...that's really saying something! 
The Bronze is a mean, crass little comedy, and its occasional shots at sincere moments are unfailingly trite. Melissa Rauch is foul and unsympathetic in the lead, fronting a crew of just-slightly-less-despicable supporting characters, including Gary Cole as her long-suffering father and Stan as a rival coach; only Thomas Middletech's Ben is half-likable. The movie follows the same predictable path as a thousand bitter redemption stories before it, sans that bit where a viewer might actually be rooting for a character...ANY character. 
The much-ballyhooed acrobatic sex scene between Rauch and Stan (she used a stunt double; he did not) is so deeply unfunny that I was embarrassed for everyone involved. Pretty much the only genuine thing about this dud is the cute little town of Amherst, Ohio, which portrays itself in the movie and undoubtedly deserves better. The Bronze runs 108 excruciating minutes and is rated R for "strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout, and some drug use." Avoid this at all costs. I mean it. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Bronze gets one, for the single time I laughed over the course of its painful duration. 
Next on my agenda: Allegiant. Tris and Four find out what's on the other side of the wall. Dear Reader(s), there's no sugar-coating it: Sitting through Allegiant is like watching paint dry, and that might be slightly underselling the entertainment value of watching paint dry. Though stakes are high for our heroes, the movie has zero tension, and there's even less chemistry between Shailene Woodly and Theo James. Allegiant's special effects are about as shabby as an old episode of Doctor Who. 
The dialogue is painful, and the characters are one-dimensional and uninteresting. There are a few cheap laughs courtesy of Peter (Miles Teller), and a two-hour eyeful of James is never a bad thing, but Allegiant otherwise has little to recommend it. Allegiant clocks in at 121 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity." It is, perhaps, the natural bane of the first half of a story split in two that it advances the plot without much excitement, but unless you're utterly invested in the whole of the Divergent series, Allegiant is hardly worth your time. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Allegiant gets three. 
Until next time...

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