[This is a re-post of my Results review from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is available on VOD starting today, and opens in select theaters on June 5th.]
Writer/director Andrew Bujalski’s “romantic comedy” Results is a weird movie. It technically belongs in the romantic comedy genre despite the fact that it doesn’t turn into one until halfway through the film, after a sluggish, odd, and meandering first half that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. And while the chemistry of Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders is enough to keep the movie from flat-lining entirely, the off-putting nature and heavy focus on Kevin Corrigan’s character forces the audience to push through the pain before getting to a somewhat charming cool down.
Results revolves around three central characters. Trevor (Pearce) is a driven, hard-working, and frankly kind of boring trainer who owns the small but successful gym Power 4 Life. The name of the gym speaks to Trevor’s optimistic philosophy on attaining happiness, but his homelife reveals his own sense of loneliness. He lives in a fairly barren apartment with only a drum set and dog to keep his time occupied outside of work.
We also have Kat, Power 4 Life’s most successful—and most confident—trainer, who has an acerbic wit and determination about her that makes her quite likeable. She and Trevor carried on a casual relationship years ago, but now they’re all-business with a tiny glimmer of playfulness mixed in.
At the beginning of the film, the recently divorced, newly rich, and wholly out of shape Danny (Corrigan) comes to Power 4 Life seeking a home trainer. His ultimate goal is to “be able to take a punch”. Kat is eventually assigned as his trainer, and she arrives at his giant, empty house where the two subsequently develop a rapport amidst their training regimen. However, when Danny grows romantic feelings towards Kat, Smulders’ character is put off and Trevor has a fairly intense reaction, throwing the trio out of sync.
Danny is an odd guy. He spends his idle time strumming a guitar, ordering pizza, smoking weed, or posting ridiculous tasks on Craigslist like “I will pay you $200 to come over and fix my TV right now.” He follows through on the payment given his newly wealthy status, but he’s a guy who doesn’t really have anything to do with his money. Still heartbroken from his divorce, he essentially just throws his money down the drain and wanders aimlessly around his house.
A lot of the film is spent following Danny as he does essentially nothing. This is a weird character to hang your movie on, and while I’d like to say he’s somewhat charming or interesting, he’s really just boring. If you’ve seen Bujalski’s previous film, Computer Chess, you may be prepared for the strangeness to come, but it gets old fast.
Danny essentially serves as the plot device that forces Trevor and Kat to finally reconcile their feelings for one another, and while the film certainly picks up and becomes more compelling when Trevor and Kat are working out their issues, it takes a while to get there. Pearce is great and Smulders impresses as a lead, I just wish this were a better movie to showcase the duo’s talents.
Thematically, Results is about people who seemingly have everything they want, and yet are still unhappy. Trevor is great looking and has a business on the up-and-up, Kat is the best worker at her job, and Danny has a seemingly endless supply of money. And yet, all of these people are privately very, very unhappy. This is an interesting idea to explore under the guise of a romantic comedy, especially with the talents of Peace and Smulders at one’s disposal, but Bujalski spends too much time on a character that’s simply too weird. The focus on Danny seems all the more odd when he becomes less integral to the film as the runtime wears on. Despite some solid and promising performances from the central romantic duo, Results is a missed opportunity.