Kat (Cobie Smulders) is a fitness-obsessed food log proponent and personal trainer at Power4Life, a gym—nay, a lifestyle—run by Trevor (Guy Pearce), a man who can only be described as “goal-oriented” personified. Kat is Power4Life’s most highly rated—and aggressive—trainer, and Trevor its visionary. He wants to expand his business, add a juice bar and a meditation space, and “actualize” P4L’s philosophy. Kat wants to work hard, get her clients in shape and get paid. The two used to be more than gym buddies, but that was presumably bad for business, so they’re now begrudging, but for the most part friendly, coworkers. Then Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a newly rich and recently divorced oaf, enters the picture and complicates their already dysfunctional relationship.
More out of boredom than out of any desire to better himself, Danny heads to P4L for something or someone to occupy his time. But when Kat is hired to be his trainer, he focuses more on her perfectly toned body than working out his own. Awkwardness ensues and soon Kat, Trevor and Danny find themselves tangled in an unusual partnership.
Results is a meandering, overly long film in which a lot of stuff happens, but none of it is all that interesting—much like daily life. Unlike films with more traditional narrative arcs, Results has no major catastrophe or inciting incident that kick-starts its action. In fact, there’s not much action to speak of, just the everyday events and small problems that consume the characters’ lives. Results, in this way, is very similar to Bujalski’s early works, which have been popularly lumped into the “mumblecore” movement: There’s the naturalistic dialogue, nontraditional plot structure, and true to form, his characters still have plenty of difficulty expressing themselves.
Still, Results is a significant departure for Bujalski. While relatively low-budget, this is the director’s biggest film to date—there’s no shaky camerawork or poor sound quality here, and working, notable actors are seemingly getting working day rates. Bujalski’s Funny Ha Ha, in 2002, was one of the first to be coined “mumblecore,” and the awkward but natural performances from its nonprofessional actors became a defining characteristic of the movement. There’s certainly more polish from Smulders, Pearce and Corrigan, but their performances—polished and, admittedly, “professional”—only enhance the lived-in nature of the characters Bujalski’s created.
Who all happen to be rather pathetic, emotionally stunted and odd human beings—but you can’t help but become invested in their lives, each with their own endearing quirks, each amusing in their own way to discover and observe. Like Danny, who doesn’t have the greatest habits when it comes to women—some might call him creepy—but then he has moments of genuine surprise, stopping himself from disparaging his ex-wife and instead saying, sincerely, “She’s very smart. I respect her.” The film is a series of these tiny, revealing moments. And as such, it can feel a tad tedious. Yet, Bujalski’s assembled a terrific cast who are able to carry the weight of Bujalski’s expectations and style: Pearce and Smulders melt into their roles, and Corrigan, who might be less familiar to some, is the standout.
While all three characters feel fully realized, their storylines? Less so. Unlike Funny Ha Ha, which followed Marnie as she dealt with her feelings for a friend, or Computer Chess, which centers on a weekend-long tournament, in Results it’s often less clear where these characters are headed. When it comes to their relationships, their motivations are murkier and their backstories convoluted. And as the film trudges on, disinterest sets in, as does concern for the nearly never-ending run-time. And yet—when the film does make its way to a resolution, it all, somehow, comes off as way too rushed. Insert appropriate fitness analogy here.
Director: Andrew Bujalski
Writer: Andrew Bujalski
Starring: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan
Release Date: May 29, 2015
Regan Reid is a Toronto-based freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter.