Results (15) | Close-Up Film Review
Cast: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Brooklyn Decker, Giovanni Ribisi
One of the more intriguing films to come out of Sundance this year, mostly due to Cobie Smulders’ performance, Results divided critics after that debut. The plot revolves around two personal trainers, Trevor and Kat (Pearce and Smulders), and the bored multi-millionaire (Corrigan) who flips their lives over, forcing both to re-evaluate what’s important to them and their relationship to each other. Having engaged in a semi-romantic relationship, but mostly just hooking up, positive-vibing independent gym owner Trevor and tough-as-nails (sigh) taskmaster trainer Kat have… whatever it is they had thrown up in the air when recent millionaire Danny comes into the mix. What follows is an hour and forty minutes of well-meaning yet hard-to-engage-with character interactions and decisions.
Writer-Director Andrew Bujalski gets good, offbeat performances from his stars, who are unfortunately mostly playing towards type. Smulders is a bit of an emotionally unavailable (see: How I Met Your Mother)hard-ass, Corrigan is an unpredictable weirdo (see: Pineapple Express), Ribisi is aloof (see: anything with Giovanni Ribisi in it). The most entertaining member of the past is certainly Guy Pearce, clearly relishing the opportunity to play a relentlessly upbeat and confidence-boosting New Age gym owner, the kind of guy who orders his eggs be split and poured in a certain way so as to burn off as much saturated fat as possible. His scenes are the best, and we can’t help but hope his dream of expanding his gym into a bigger location comes true.
Whilst most of Bujalski’s dialogue feels real and lived in, perfectly echoing real life’s tenets of people communicating without communicating, the downside is that it’s hard to get a handle on why these people are the way they are (with the exception of Corrigan’s Danny). We never really get a handle on why Kat is so relentless in her striving to stay healthy and take on as many clients as possible, or why’s she so un-accepting of failure. Trevor wants to expand his business, sure, and he believes in four aspects of his regime wholly (at this stage I recall them being something like Faith, Motivation, Strength… and something else… maybe even those are wrong). But why? We never get the shading to the characters that we desperately need to understand them.
The exception to that rule is most assuredly Danny, whose wife left him and soon after discovered his estranged mother had a) married a rich guy b) died and c) left all her money to him. His despondence at the loss of his wife, whom he believes he had a “fucked-up” relationship with that “made sense”, coupled with the influx of a large amount of money that he simply doesn’t know what to do with, are combined to create the portrait we see in the film; he’s lonely, he has money, and we see him on several attempts try to end his loneliness by using said money. It’s an uncertain, jarring thing to watch, but we understand it and we want to see what happens this man – who is clearly a nice guy, if a little misguided.
As yet another “quirky indie dramedy”, Results manages to check a few of the boxes. It’s funny at times, with a very offbeat sense of humour that is occasionally hard to pin down. It features a cast of people you probably never figured you’d see in the same room, let alone in the same scene. There are shots of people on phones in vast expanses of empty screen space to fully intonate how far they are from the people around them, how disconnected they are from each other’s viewpoints. There are shouting matches and disagreements in small rooms, claustrophobic in nature and forcing one square peg and one triangle shape to have an argument in a round hole. It’s almost like Quirky Indie Dramedy 101.
Luckily for Bujalski his cast are all fully invested in the film and their characters, not a bad performance in sight. He’s clearly directed them very well, his skill coupled with his intimate knowledge of the script and the story he is trying to tell; it’s simply a shame that said script isn’t more engaging and doesn’t go farther.
Review by Daniel Woburn