In Films by Alex Moss Editor

A romantic Mumblecore comedy about the delusions sold to us by fitness freaks Results is a skew on the genre but manages to offer some smart observations. Having impressed with his last film Computer Chess Andrew Bujalski conjures an interesting, if slightly confused, metaphor for modern romance.

Danny (Kevin Corrigan) is a recently single, recently rich, always flabby loner. Desperate to change his life he signs up to a local gym run by fitness dreamer Trevor (Guy Pearce). Personal trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders) takes on Danny’s fitness regime but soon falls fowl to his advances before finding her relationship with Trevor increasingly strained. Can these three lonely, desperate and conflicted characters ever truly find happiness?

What Bujalski has to say with Results is often a smartly satirical look at the world of romance and health. That good eating and regular exercise don’t always lead to the happier life gym instructors promise. But at the same time money certainly doesn’t buy you happiness and just because you dream of something better it won’t always come true. It’s a cynical but brutally honest message and by the end, despite their flaws, you’re likely to have fallen quite heavily in love with the characters.

Corrigan is on cracking form as the loveable schlub who, while isolated in the world, seems to understand emotions better than anyone. He’s not always easy to identify with but when you do there’s genuine warmth he demands. Pearce, one of cinema’s more sporadically used leading men, brings a sense of motto-spewing nonsense to Trevor. A man who has seemingly read too many self-help books in such detail that their ideals have begun to conflict with each other culminating in a sense of naivety on his behalf. Pearce’s calm demeanor even when faced with hostility is one of the funniest components to the film. Smulders meanwhile demonstrates that her comedic chops from How I Met Your Mother mixed with her sterner, tough-girl role in the Marvel universe have only begun to scratch at the surface of what she is able to achieve as an actress. Here she finds a brilliant level of self-destructive anger packaged in a stubborn exterior that while not always attractive is never anything less than admirable.

The problems arise from Bujalski’s lack of any coherent plot and insistence to let much of the film meander along until what is an otherwise satisfying conclusion. Why else would you cast Giovanni Ribisi in such a throwaway role if you didn’t hope to find more story lying beneath an interesting concept? As such it offers an interesting point but takes too long to get there. By no means an A+ but Results does enough to pass the test.