Results (2015)

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“Part of achieving excellence is delivering excellence consistently.”

Results has good intentions with haphazard execution, a blemish and a wrinkle to cancel out any fluidity and smoothness that it shows. The film is almost entirely character driven as well. Rarely does the location or the time influence the three leads, none of whom are given enough screen time to justifiably be called the main protagonist. Doing that services the people of the story, a technique that doesn’t translate to the viewer as consistently or satisfyingly as one might hope. Results clearly wants to subvert the clichés of the romantic comedy genre and distinguish itself from the rest by going for something completely different. The story cramps up though, dragging itself back to the middle of the pack, sandwiched between the winners and the losers as just another tired attempt to tear through the ribbon first. The venture is respectable, but sometimes the harder you try the easier you stumble.

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As I said above, Results doesn’t technically have a main character. Neither does it have an antagonist either. Those two requisite pieces, pivotal to any story, are simply missing. A film can have a lead who is his own worst enemy on the journey to change or stay the same, but it all begins with a focus for the audience to attach to, of which Results doesn’t actively distinguish for us. We first meet Trevor (Guy Pearce), the owner and manager for his gym Power4Life. His highest rated trainer and one-time fling is Kat (Cobie Smulders). She’s as pressuring as she is reassuring, hosting enough bark to her bite that it becomes hard to believe any client would receive her well besides men looking for an attractive woman sporting tight fit exercise pants. Pearce is solid and very believable in his role, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen his expansive filmography. And Smulders is good too, although she plays a one-dimensional character driven by reciprocated affection with no clear reasoning. The actors act well even when we don’t know why they are doing so.

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Kevin Corrigan rounds out the trio as Danny. These are all fully developed characters, but Corrigan is on a different level here, mostly because he is given complexity. Danny meets with Trevor because he, “wants to be able to take a punch.” Kat flirts her way into being his trainer, and their relationship expands the film’s only lingering yet never fully realized theme: accountability. Danny is a tragic figure, recently dumped before inheriting riches. Results teaches that money can buy happiness, however fleeting it may be. That’s why we needed more of Danny. You don’t really care about Kat, or Trevor, or their floundering romance, or his business. Danny is the heart of the film, and the last third replaces his insurmountable presence with interchangeable endeavors for love. Why swap out the name brand for the cheap stuff when you know it’s no better?

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Writer and director Andrew Bujalski definitely knows what he is doing even if to the layman or the expert it isn’t entirely obvious. This is a good premise squandered away by flipping its switch to on when it is already so darkly comical and relatable at the off position. Bujalski seems aware that he should cut out the lessons of situational exposition and focus his camera where it matters. Which is why during important scenes the shots are done as close-ups because we need, and deserve, to read the actor with our eyes and our ears. This film isn’t charming, and thankfully it is not deceptive either. However, it disappoints by conveying little to no feeling, through the script itself or the picture it sprang to life up on the screen. Results may be a breezy test, but it is an easy and fallible one, with answers all too inconclusive for its title or its proposed trajectory.

“You have no idea what’s going on in your own brain.”

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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