Training Days: RESULTS Film Review

By at June 13, 2015 | 10:36 am | Print

4 / 5 stars

Results Movie PosterDefining Andrew Bujalski’s Results as a “romantic comedy” or “love triangle” seems appropriate at first. But the genre format doesn’t hold, quickly dissolving in this tangled story of two health nuts and a rich slob. The dialogue inhabits its own space, with an originality that Hollywood writers either don’t use or don’t get. And little surprises emerge, revealing a depth that’s just not part of “definable” films. Low on convention and high on unpredictability, Results is a wonderful movie, one of Bujalski’s strongest efforts in a portfolio of small cinematic gems.

The writer-director’s films have never been easy to define. A reluctant pioneer of the mini-movement too often referred to as “mumblecore,” Bujalski deals in familiar constructs – love interests in Mutual Appreciation, siblings in Beeswax – but with a deceptively loose aesthetic and an engaging awkwardness. If there’s an interesting path for a character or story to take, Bujalski finds it. (This even affects casting, with Anthony Michael Hall appearing in Results as a Russian muscle master with a passion for kettle balls.) Trying to define Bujalski’s last film, Computer Chess, is nearly futile, the movie a surreal-esque throwback to the early video era, set at a computer coders’ weekend (see, I just mucked that up).

But Results is easier. Guy Pearce is Trevor, the remarkably sincere owner of an Austin fitness center, where the remarkably determined Kat (a killer Cobie Smulders) works as a trainer and sometimes gets romantic with her boss. Enter Danny (the perfectly cast Kevin Corrigan), a newly rich, misplaced New Yorker who falls for Kat while she attempts to train his pot-smoking ass into shape.

Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders in Results

Take this setup and imagine the traditional results (sorry). Ugly duckling works out and gets hot. Beautiful woman chooses the wrong guy. Beautiful woman chooses the ugly guy. Forget it all because none of it happens.

What does happen? A more mature version of what can occur among three friends, taking into account the deeper, unseen parts of their lives, their loneliness, boredom, and obsessions. This isn’t difficult stuff, it’s the type of experiences people have. They’re just not usually told this well on the big screen.

They’re also not usually this well-acted. The trio of leads must have sensed the potential in Bujalski’s script and stepped up to take advantage of it. Although a major portion of one act practically excludes Smulders (yes, interesting), she is the film’s heavyweight, as emotionally lean and mean as she looks. In a few top-notch closing scenes with Pearce, she’s got something brewing behind her words and you can see a glint of it in her eyes. It’s a blend of annoying overconfidence and vulnerability, and it’s deep.

For all of the format deviation that Bujalski employs, Results reinforces that he’s one of the few filmmakers, especially in the indie set, who can be different without the work feeling overly affected. Sometimes it’s a line of unexpectedly fresh dialogue. Or a lovingly executed workout montage, a la Rocky. For every big-budget movie promoted with “twists and turns” it’s pretty satisfying to see that sustained that in subtle, natural ways.

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