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New Release Review - RESULTS

A depressed multi-millionaire shakes up the lives of two gym instructors.


Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Andrew Bujalski

Starring: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Brooklyn Decker, Anthony Michael Hall



"Pearce and Smulders aren't a natural fit for this material and there's a lack of heat in their scenes together that makes you wonder if there's an unseen plate glass window separating them. It's difficult to care about their relationship."


With his early movies, writer-director Andrew Bujalski single-handedly invented the mumblecore genre with a series of low key, low budget, low stakes comic dramas. His fourth film, his masterwork Computer Chess, was a veritable epic in comparison, thank to its Altmanesque mileu and large canvas, albeit devoid of known actors. For his latest, Results, Bujalski makes a move toward the mainstream by casting a bunch of stars, but it's as idiosyncratic as we've come to expect. Battling it out with Paul Thomas Anderson for the crown of Robert Altman's heir apparent, Bujalski attempts to move ahead in this race by using Results to subvert genre expectations just as Altman so often did throughout his career.
Bujalski's unromantic and largely unfunny rom-com presents us with a love triangle set in the fitness world; the temptation to title the film Jules et Gym must have been difficult to resist. Danny (Kevin Corrigan) is a freshly minted multi millionaire who decides he needs to get in shape and so signs up to a gym run by Aussie fitness guru Trevor (Guy Pearce). Creeped out by his new client's odd behaviour (Danny claims he wants to be able to take a punch), Trevor is reluctant to assign him to personal trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders), who he's also been involved in an on-off relationship with. Desperate for a client, Kat kicks up a stink and gets Danny on her roster. It's not long before Danny crosses several professional boundaries, disrupting the lives of Trevor and Kat.
The synopsis makes Results sound more like a psychological thriller than a comedy, and thanks to Corrigan's subtly unhinged performance, there's a darkness permeating the narrative. Laughs are few and far between as Bujalski experiments with the archetypes and stereotypes of the rom-com. Fitness buffs like Trevor and Kat are usually the villains of contemporary comedies, while we're too often asked to root for slobs like Danny. The average viewer looks a lot more like Corrigan than Pearce or Smulders, and filmmakers seem to think we wouldn't empathise with someone who looks after themselves. There's also the ridiculous but pervasive notion that physically attractive stars can't be funny. Of course, the likes of Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe prove otherwise, so it's a pleasant change to see a movie that dares to ask us to invest in a couple who could both crack walnuts between their buttcheeks.
Unfortunately, while Bujalski's experiment is admirable, it's not entirely successful. Physicality aside, Pearce and Smulders aren't a natural fit for this material and there's a lack of heat in their scenes together that makes you wonder if there's an unseen plate glass window separating them. It's difficult to care about their relationship; far more interesting is the existential crisis of Corrigan's Danny, a subplot that becomes increasingly sidelined as the movie progresses. Corrigan is an actor we've seen lurking around the periphery of cinema over the last couple of decades while awaiting the sort of starring role he's afforded here. The movie's best moments feature his character, a walking bag of tumours, depressed, bored and angry. Had Bujalski focussed on Danny, his movie could have produced more positive results.



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