Results review: all hail the beautiful people – not

Andrew Bujalski’s latest features Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders as two superior but oblivious gym bunnies

Film Title: Results

Director: Andrew Bujalski

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

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 104 min

Thu, May 28, 2015, 21:00

   

You wouldn’t expect anything so conventional and bourgeois as a “message” from a film by Andrew Bujalski. This is, after all, the sly director behind such oblique near-comedies as Mutual Appreciation and Computer Chess. Yet Results does end up saying something. Maybe the people who seem the most fastidiously controlled are the ones with the most profound problems. After all, you don’t build a containing fence around an empty space. There are, more often, fierce beasts in there.

The superior beings in Results are played by popular super-humans Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders. This is Bujalski’s first film with real movie stars and he takes full advantage of his actors’ wattage to make all around seem that bit less luminous. Trevor (Pearce) runs the Power 4 Life gym in Austin. Kat (Smulders), a former squeeze, is his most enthusiastic staff member. Early on, we are alerted to her fanaticism when, while out running, she pursues a car and berates the driver for not paying her gym fees.

The story kicks off properly when Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a mildly overweight, properly dishevelled individual, pops in to sign up for a fitness regime. Danny has first-world problems of the least pitiable stripe. Having recently fallen into an inheritance, he doesn’t know how to spend his money.

He knocks around a big house, strumming a guitar, smoking dope and failing to get his enormous TV to work. When he makes an unthreatening pass at Kat it all starts to kick off.

Or rather it doesn’t. Shooting in flat light with unhurried editing, Bujalski never forces the jokes or artificially heightens the drama. The new film is a little less deadened than his earlier work, but still moves at close to the pace of real life.

Nonetheless, Results is often properly funny. Danny’s attempts to be a gallant saviour to the supposedly misused Kat are given gentle levels of absurdity by a game Pearce. Kat’s neuroses simmer amusingly beneath every coolly delivered putdown.

Meanwhile, Danny shrugs his way towards some life-changing decisions with a realism that the two beautiful people – all Triumph of the Will – can’t quite manage.

Yes, there’s a lesson there.