A wry comedy on the new-age mantras of fitness training in Austin Texas, Andrew Bujalski’s Results is a sentimental education of love and dreams.
A Sporting Chanceby Mark Wilshin
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
After Computer Chess and the eccentric, insular world of competition chess, the indie king of mumblecore Andrew Bujalski is turning his attention to another corner of the sporting world, as he takes on the idiosyncrasies of the independent gym. Set in Austin Texas, Results couldn’t have a better location for that kale smoothie-drinking, follow-your-dreams, new-age aspirational élite. But while it’s ostensibly focused on one plump man losing weight and toning up to take a punch, Bujalski’s film is more a study in yellow of dreams, goals and the lack of them. It’s gently comic, with an uncomfortable, fly-on-the-wall sit-com feel that recalls The Kings Of Summer or Appropriate Behavior. But while it’s a break from the unexplored backwaters of his previous films, Results is no more mainstream, disciplined in its aimlessness as it struggles to achieve its own equally nebulous results.
New York, Danny (Kevin Corrigan) is splitting up from his wife. It’s Austin, Texas and a few days after his divorce Danny comes into more money than he knows what to do with. He buys a house he barely furnishes, paying internet denizens $200 a time to bring him a cat or fix his TV. But above all, Danny wants to get fit. And so he lands at Power 4 Life, where he’s questioned by affable gym owner Trevor (Guy Pearce). Accosted by his go-getting fitness instructor and one-time workplace fling Kat (Cobie Smulders), Trevor sends her to Danny’s mansion to whip the slovenly New Yorker into shape, but it soon becomes clear that Danny’s intentions aren’t entirely above board. His attentions are enough to spark a change in Kat, who resigns – hoping for a sit-down, grown-up job. But when Trevor confronts Danny, in a manly show of support for Kat, the two men become buddies, Trevor spotting Danny at the gym while Danny stumps up the collateral for Trevor’s dreams of expansion with a second gym. But when Danny discovers that Trevor harbours feelings for Kat, all bets are off as the two partners in fitness are forced to confront their feelings for each other.
With former bodybuilding champion Guy Pearce and former model Cobie Smulders, Andrew Bujalski couldn’t have cast his body beautifuls better. But while Results is in the first place a film about fitness, it soon gives way to results of a different kind, as Danny’s attempts to find a meaning to his life – deprived of both money worries and his ex-wife – spark a wave of small revolutions. Trevor is already on his way to fulfilling his dreams with a fitness mantra geared to setting his clients on the right physical, mental, emotional and spiritual paths. But through an almost psychic connection with Danny, Trevor decides to seize the nettle – purchasing space for a second gym (with Danny’s backing) and trekking across Texas to visit his keep-fit idol Grigory. After setting herself on course for a life-change, Kat too finds herself becoming – through a sprained twist of fate and for a bargain price – Trevor’s business partner; the yin to his yang as she becomes the brains behind his brawn.
The vortex at the centre of this maelstrom though is Danny, played with sulky and impish unpredictability by Kevin Corrigan – a pot-smoking, pizza-guzzling, dark heart that draws both Kat and Trevor into his short-lived whims and changeable swings. It’s a fickle drive that forces the two masters of control to confront their feelings for each other, as he engineers a buy-out to bring them together. In the end though, despite his lazy desire to become a “real man” and his volatile, controlling behaviour, Danny’s one true star is love, as he attempts to bring Trevor and Kat together and restoke the flame of a failed marriage with his ex-wife Christine (Corrigan’s real-life wife). A capricious money man with more dough than he knows what to do with, Danny is almost a stand-in for a film-producer – half-in, half-out but ultimately, making the dreams happen.
With a low-key aesthetic, Andrew Bujalski’s Results feels almost like an Irish independent movie – as the skittish overweight recluse comes into unlikely contact with a couple of over-achieving gym bunnies. And while the script is occasionally mawkish, the performances a little raw and infused with a comic touch that never quite tips into funny ha ha, there’s a likeable strangeness to Bujalski’s film. It doesn’t feel as accomplished as the stylised microcosms of his previous films, but it breathes life. And it’s a joyous celebration of man’s weakness – beyond money, the body beautiful or even Results.
Results is released on 29th May 2015 in the UK