Results, the new indie film from director Andrew Bujalski which stars Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders, is billed as a romantic comedy but it is also very much a character piece. The film is strange to be sure thanks to its oddly-paced plot, seemingly random segues, and scene shots that have characters delivering lines off-screen on multiple occasions. It’s tough to call Results a comedy however (at least in the traditional sense) because there really aren’t any laugh-out-loud moments (though some parts might elicit a few chuckles). While Results may not be a traditional comedy, it is a surprisingly heartfelt and genuine film that messes with the viewer’s expectations and also shows that personal growth can come from the most unlikely of places.
The film rolls out its three mainstay characters and their individual takes on life pretty quickly. First up is Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a quirky, socially inept slacker who has suddenly come into a great deal of money via an inheritance but who spends his days sulking in misery because he recently divorced with his wife. On a whim, Danny decides to get in shape and heads down to a local gym where he meets the gym’s owner Trevor (Pearce), a super-fit self-styled guru who believes that the key to getting a great body is visualizing it in your mind. Trevor sets Danny up with Kat (Smulders), a super-intense yet standoffish personal trainer who (unbeknownst to Danny) used to have a sexual relationship with Trevor. As hard as he tries to stay focused on fitness, the emotionally vulnerable Danny soon becomes infatuated with Kat and what follows is an awkwardly entertaining series of events that get Trevor, Danny, and Kat all tangled up in each other’s personal lives.
Since Results is an indie film, it naturally relies heavily on its characters to keep the plot moving which is good since all three of the film’s leads are up to the task. Pearce’s Trevor is a likeable version of all those annoying personal fitness gurus you’ve probably seen in infomercials (the fact that Pearce uses his native Australian accent for the character helps) but it’s also clear that, behind his seemingly solid mantra of “Power4Life”, he has his own issues that he’s struggling with. Kat, meanwhile, has no problem being direct with people, so much so that she often drifts from direct and straight into full-on rude, but she also has an emotional longing that she doesn’t want to confront. Danny is the perfect embodiment of the average everyman; he’s lazy, awkward, and weird but not weird enough that he alienates the audience. On the contrary, of the three leads, Danny is probably the most relatable if only because he’s the only one who is completely honest about who he is and what he wants.
The odd misadventures of the three leads are handled with a similarly odd tempo. One moment two characters can be angry at each other and the next they’re discussing their feelings in total calmness. These sudden shifts in tempo can be jarring at first but once you get to know the characters it starts to make sense as you realize that Kat and Trevor are just as quirky as Danny, just in different, less obvious ways. The weird sort of love triangle that sprouts up between the three seems at first like it would have a very cut and dry solution but as you watch the characters more closely and see how they act whenever they’re alone, you start to realize that these characters are much more complex than they appear to be on the surface.
The excellent character performances given By Smulders, Pearce, and Corrigan are only made better thanks to the supporting characters they meet along the way. From Danny’s super-casual lawyer Paul (Giovanni Ribisi) to the hilariously intense kettle bell fitness celebrity Grigory (Anthony Michael Hall complete with a Russian accent) and his wife Erin (Brooklyn Decker), these characters help to give the three leads some depth and to break up the sometimes monotonous routine of watching Danny, Trevor, and Kat constantly interacting with nobody else but each other. Sadly none of the supporting characters are featured as prominently as the three leads but they make the most of the time they are given.
The story that unfolds within Results and its hour-and-forty-five-minute runtime strikes a solid balance between comedy and occasional drama but it never gets too sad or intense and none of the characters ever really suffer any permanent consequences which is good if you’re looking for something lighter. However, for all its lightheartedness and charm, Results also has a fair amount of inconsistency. It’s sometimes hard to understand why the characters act the way that they act and by the end of the film, only Danny feels like he made any actual growth as a character despite the insinuation that both Kat and Trevor somehow improved emotionally as a juxtaposition to Danny improving physically.
Even with its uneven and sometimes hard to follow pace and character development, Results is still a fun movie to watch if you’re in the mood for something that won’t force you to think too much and that won’t drain you emotionally. It may not be the funniest movie you ever see but it’s still a charming tale of personal growth and unexpected friendship that will make you smile and might even inspire you to get back into your old fitness regimen.