A washed-up Olympic gymnast takes action when a younger athlete threatens her celebrity status.
Hope Ann Greggory spent her entire childhood training for the Olympics, and, when she made it, she had a real Kerri Strug moment and helped Team USA win a bronze medal. Since then, Hope has been living off her former fame and glory in her small Ohio town, scoring free meals and shopping sprees at the local mall, exclusively wearing her Team USA track suits, and stealing pocket money from the mail in her postal worker dad’s mail truck when he cuts off her allowance. With her endorsement money gone and her dad’s pension at risk if she keeps tampering with the mail, things are looking dire for Hope. Then her former coach commits suicide, but not before mailing Hope a letter stating that she will give her a $500,000 inheritance if Hope continues training her latest gymnast, Maggie, who’s on track for the Olympics herself.
I had zero clue who Melissa was before I watched this movie, but it looks like she’s a regular on The Big Bang Theory, a show I avoid like the plague. She also co-wrote this movie with her husband, which, like, hells yeah, Melissa! We don’t have enough ladies in comedy. Also, kudos for wearing those gymnast bangs with a straight face. Hope is an absolute fucking nutcase, and I mean that in the nicest way, because her character was a joy to watch as she gives absolutely zero shits. This movie will not be to everyone’s taste, and I think you’ll know if it’s for you within the first six minutes as our introduction to adult Hope was not something I was expecting to see (though truth be told I also had not seen any previews before I turned it on, so I went in with zero expectations of what kind of movie this was).
“Ah yes,” you must be saying to yourself, “there’s the reason she went into this movie blind.” Yes, this was just another movie I picked up during my Stan-stanning because I was able to stream it without any extra effort on my part. This role might be peak mainstream-hotness for Sebastian. Lance, a former gymnast from Hope’s time at the Olympics who now also coaches, is actually a majorly cocky douche and yet he’s still Sebastian Stan, so I thoroughly enjoyed him in this role. I don’t know why he’s on the poster since he doesn’t have the biggest part…but I have to assume Melissa / whoever had creative control over the poster also understand how hot Sebastian Stan is and figured featuring his adorable mug would only be an asset to their movie. Good call, poster creator.
My initial reaction to Gary Cole will always be “ugh, the annoying boss from Office Space” but that isn’t fair to Gary Cole because he’s a great character actor. Or maybe it IS fair because he did such a great job playing an asshole? I digress. Anyway, Gary plays Hope’s dad, and on one hand you kind of DO hate him because Hope obviously has a lot of deep-seated issues because of the way she grew up, and on the other hand his wife died in childbirth, leaving him a single dad probably doing the best he could, and now as an adult he’s still stuck dealing with his sociopath of a daughter.
Haley’s been in a few YA-related flicks (The Edge of Seventeen with fellow Hailee Steinfeld, YA adaptation Five Feet Apart, and, according to IMDB, an upcoming adaptation of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, which I didn’t even know was a thing, so: cool!) and other things, and there’s actually something I really like about watching her. Maggie is the bubbly, very naïve gymnast Hope is forced to train, and her perfect foil. Hope feels all at once threatened and protective of Maggie, and I liked their scenes together the best.
Middleditch has an extensive resume but I feel like I only really remember him from Silicon Valley. Ben co-owns the failing gym where Hope’s former coach trained, so he’s someone from Hope’s past that she doesn’t think too highly of, but he may be one of the few willing to look past her horrible behavior to the insecure person within.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Choose Wisely
As I mentioned, this movie has what I would call a very raunchy style of humor, so unless you and your family are super comfortable with each other, I’d stick to watching it with your SO or your like-minded friends.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Alcoholic Milkshake
Hope really enjoys her free milkshakes at the local diner, so I feel like you have to indulge along with her. But if you want to make it boozy, fix yourself up a fancy frozen mudslide.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Excellent
This is a coming-of-age (albeit long overdue because Hope is like thirty) and uplifting sports movie all rolled up into a surprisingly good comedy. Every four years I am also big into Olympic gymnastics and my seminal Olympic memories ARE from that “Magnificent Seven” era, so I liked the little callbacks and shout-outs (Dominique Dawes make a cameo as a reporter).
ALSO, there is an ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS gymnastics-related sex scene between Hope and Lance that was so unexpected and over-the-top I could not stop cracking up. Like, at one point he does a pommel horse spin over her back and they do dismount poses. I died! It was so amusing that when my husband came home when I was almost done I immediately rewound the movie just to show that part to him. So if for nothing else, you should watch the movie for this scene. You’re welcome.