Results – Andrew Bujalski (2015)

What do you get when you take two middle-aged men, one a buff gym owner, the other a pudgy schlub, and add a young, hot female personal trainer with attitude? You get Results. What are those results, you ask? They are this movie. A movie, in which three people interact, now graces our screens. How do they interact? This is a comedy, so the stakes are low. The narrative concerns Trevor (Guy Pearce), who owns a gym and is looking to expand to a larger space, and Kat (Cobie Smulders), a younger personal trainer who works with/under Trevor, and who has trouble retaining clients because of her semi-abrasive manner. This snow globe of hilarity is cracked, if not shattered, by Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a lumpy middle-aged man who does little but sit around the house all day, drinking, getting high, and noodling on his guitar. He is not only our entree into the story, but our avatar within this fitness universe. Danny has a lot of free time because, in a freakish stroke of good luck, he recently inherited a massive amount of money. Seemingly knocked from his everyday perch, he now inhabits the world as a cross between a Beckett character and John Belushi in Animal House. He pays anyone he meets hundreds of dollars to accomplish the most meager tasks, just so he doesn’t have to bother with them and/or use his brain. He decides to employ Trevor’s services so he can get into shape, happens to spot Kat, and takes a liking to her. Kat, wanting to gain and keep good clients, likes Danny. She goes to his house periodically and helps him exercise. Danny is not creepy or even overly interested, but we know he likes her. Eventually, as Danny more and more lets it all hang out, Kat happens to spy his smoking equipment laying around, and he invites her back later that evening to partake. She does, and, coupled with some drinking, is soon making out with him, then rounding to third base (at which point the film demurs). Afterward, she has second thoughts, and while not particularly regretful, feels she has to break it off with Danny for professional reasons. Danny then goes back to Trevor, at the same time that Trevor and Kat are reheating as an item (we have heard that they dated back in the day). Trevor has more feelings for her than she for him (seemingly), while Danny still holds on to some desire for her. Kat wants Trevor, but there are some issues having to do with Trevor being angry at Danny for some reason…

You know, this movie is damned hard to remember. In fact, it is completely forgettable. I feel like I’m piecing together the most boring dream narrative ever, or an episode of Passions from eight years ago. To fast forward, by the end of the movie, Kat and Trevor have confessed their love for each other, and joined forces to dominate the fitness market of their locality. Danny, having disappeared halfway through the movie to allow Trevor and Kat to ascend, returns briefly as the would-be satyr / martyr who sacrificed his side of the love triangle for the good of all. He throws a house party, after trying (and succeeding) to buy some sorority girls to party with him, and everyone boogies around as the credits roll (with copious smooching from Kat and Trevor). Who the hell cares? This film doesn’t seem to know what it is. In reality, it is a fairly boring, quite straightforward love story set in the world of personal training (gag). The jokes are very gently observational, like Seinfeld playing Vegas in 2027. To the front end of this film is stitched a fake-out story about buying love and unrequited lust and feeling empty and out of shape, a kind of lower-depths Roxanne in the throes of an identity crisis. The problem is that we are interested in Danny, as he is our representative in the world of beautiful people, and we want him to be a contender. So when the movie discards him, we feel discarded, and further, we feel bored. The zest (and meaning) this film could have had would have come from Danny, clichéd though it may be, fighting his way back into Kat’s heart (or at least making a case for himself). Danny already has a back story that is very flimsy and hard to swallow, so by ditching him halfway through, only to bring him back for the stupid winking ending, the filmmaker shows him for what he is – a device, not a character, and a malfunctioning one at that. The whole thing makes no sense. It’s like Bujalski, while writing the script, arrived at the pivot in the film, the moment of tension in his story, where he would have to actually develop something meaningful out of a bumpy setup, and flinched. Far easier to simply use Danny as the longest meet cute in film history, and then play out another half hour of Kat and Trevor bantering, forming business partnerships, and smooching. The acting is fine – I lay the fault squarely on the shoulders of the director/writer. Yes, the film is gently humorous. Yes, there was nothing offensive about spending 105 minutes watching it. All the same, there is something annoying about the whole enterprise – like the name Cobie Smulders, it gets under your skin, and, pleasant enough though it may be on first encounter, on recollection, one feels more and more disappointed and grumpy. Worry not, though, because unlike the name Cobie Smulders, memories of the film will melt away easily. In 2027, as I’m watching Seinfeld in Vegas, were someone to approach me and ask me about this film, I am confident I will remember not a thing about it… except the name Cobie Smulders.

Two stars out of five

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