Film Review: Results (★★★)

eb8da4e6d11648d81edf56a4fab8d7c5_500x735What an enjoyably odd duck this little film is. Results is an indie comedy with tinges of romance that never takes itself too seriously, but never comes off as silly either. It’s really an unusual mix, something that might very well puzzle as many audience members as it delights, though I mostly fell on the latter end of the spectrum. Filmmaker Andrew Bujalski takes a tentative step towards the mainstream (if you can believe it, judging by the above description) here with Results, suggesting that the writer/director has an ability to tell his intimate stories in more than one way. Armed this time out with a trio of solid performances from Kevin Corrigan, Guy Pearce, and Cobie Smulders, all of whom get a chance to exercise different acting muscles than usual. Bujalski doesn’t push all of the right buttons here, but his choices hit way more often than they miss. I really think this could find a niche audience if given the chance, but that remains to be seen. Regardless of that, Results is an enjoyable little film, one that offers up a unique voice and takes up a solid counter-programming slot as the summer movie season begins in earnest and dumbs down cinemas across the world. If you want something different, believe me when I say that this is it. As long as you know what to expect, I suspect that this could appeal to at least a solid handful of you…

The film appears to be about one thing, before interestingly shifting gears in the second half. Initially, we just meet our three central characters: personal trainer Kat (Smulders), her boss/former lover Trevor (Pearce), and a new wealthy client named Danny (Corrigan). Kat is the intense star employee of Trevor’s fitness center, someone who gets results but doesn’t make a lot of friends in the process. She and Trevor have a complicated relationship, as her often dour disposition clashes with his commitment to positivity. Trevor also has an almost obsessive interest in a fitness guru named Grigory (Anthony Michael Hall), hoping to use his methods as he expands his business. The arrival of Danny shakes things up for both of them. A slob who just came into money following a divorce, he buys things on a whim, with a gym membership/personal trainer services seeming like another one of them. Kat gets Danny as a client and they begin to bond, which confuses them both, in addition to Trevor when he finds out. This leads to Trevor getting involved with Danny, later on hoping to have him help finance a new gym location. At the start seemingly a budding romance tale, we then find ourselves following each of the characters separate journeys of sorts, though Danny and Trevor do spend a good deal of time with shady lawyer Paul (Giovanni Ribisi). It all winds up ending in an odd way, but how we get there is what makes Results worthwhile.

resultsThe three main performances are of a very high quality, with each having a good time and doing something a bit different from their usual work. Cobie Smulders is perfectly acerbic here, playing someone who shows soft sides but never loses a hard edge. It showcases her with a real screen presence, so hopefully she gets more big screen opportunities in the near future. Guy Pearce definitely gets to let loose, having some fun with his usual intensity, singing the praises of exercise and positive thinking, no matter the situation. As for Kevin Corrigan, he steps up from supporting player to co-anchor a movie and does a very solid job of it. Corrigan mainly has to be low key, and he’s got a great way of conveying emotion without overdoing it. The three of them have strong chemistry together, so whenever some combination of them are interacting, the film is at its best. Aforementioned supporting players Anthony Michael Hall and Giovanni Ribisi are basically cameoing, while other folks in the movie include Brooklyn Decker, Tishuan Scott, Constance Zimmer, and more. Corrigan, Pearce, and Smulders are clearly the stars here, making the flick work.

Writer/director Andrew Bujalski mines some very unusual places for comedy, managing in the process to say a few interesting things about happiness and human companionship. It never gets particularly heavy, but for a sometimes very silly film, Results never gets overtly light either. With a presumably higher budget and much different aesthetic than his prior outing Computer Chess, Bujalski is able to stretch himself a bit, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a big studio tries to snap him up now. He’s got a singular way of looking at the world, but this movie shows off how he can filter it through a lens that potentially could appeal to many. Time will tell, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s a big time comedy director within the next five years. He just needs to tighten things up with his pacing, as this movie dragged a bit, but other than that, he’s got the chops.

Overall, Results is a fun little flick, quirky in such a way that it manages to stand out from the pack. If you like your comedy on the odd side, this could be for you. Fans of Pearce and/or Smulders should also appreciate them letting their hair down here, so there’s that as well. It’s no masterpiece, and honestly is slower than it needs to be, as mentioned above, but you could do a lot worse. Results is an interesting little indie comedy that’s definitely worth your time.

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!