In 2004, Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) made her small Ohio town proud by bringing home the coveted Olympic Bronze Medal in women’s gymnastics. With her career cut short by a minor injury, Hope has been costing on that accomplishment ever since.
Rauch, who co-wrote this script with her husband, is best known for a show that I don’t watch. She insists though that Hope is a huge departure from her Big Bang Theory character and I’m willing to take her word for it. Unless CBS is willing to let her masturbate to footage of her glory days or say things like “absence makes the dick grow harder”, Chuck Lorre fans may be in for a side of the third most famous female BBT actress that they made not be ready for.
Hope is an obnoxious mess. Living with, mooching off of, and verbally abusing her sweet mailman dad (very well-played by Gary Cole), she makes a living off of stealing cash from his route. She also has a habit of going on a spoiled brat tirade of obscenities every time she hears something she doesn’t like, giving the sentenced-to-network-television actress a chance to do her best Melissa McCarthy (but somehow sounding a lot like Reese Witherspoon in Election).
Hope gets a second chance at life when her former coach dies and, for implausibly selfish reasons, she decides to take over coaching a promising sixteen year-old (Haley Lu Richardson) with dreams of Olympic gold. Richardson plays Maggie as naïve, hard-working, and loveable and Hope comes very close to ruining her. When Maggie beings to make the mistake of believing her own hype, The Bronze judges her way too harshly for the same attitude that it is so ready to forgive the 30 year-old Hope for.
The supporting cast of characters that Hope treats like shit- her dad, her pupil, and her sweet love interest (Tom Middleditch)- are all easy to like and make the film itself much more enjoyable to watch. The real problem is Rauch. As much fun as it must have been for her to unleash her inner Apatow, she’s more annoying than charmingly outspoken and her eventual redemption is too little-too late. And the ending, without giving too much away, is unforgiveable.