Review: Hard-bodied “Results” slyly tweaks screwball comedy genre

Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce in Results.  Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. (Photo by Ryan Green)
Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce in Results. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. (Photo by Ryan Green)
Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce in Results.  Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. (Photo by Ryan Green)
Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce in Results. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. (Photo by Ryan Green)

You might think it’s hard to care too much about a couple of gorgeous, hard-bodied, workout-obsessed people like Trevor (Guy Pearce) and Kat (Cobie Smulders), much less about Danny (Kevin Corrigan), the pudgy, borderline psycho divorcee who drifts into their regimented, no-pain world after his wife kicks him out. But in Results, writer-director Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess, Funny Ha Ha) draws us into their world more than you’d expect.

Pushing 50 but with a gym god’s bod, Trevor owns and manages an Austin athletic club called Power 4 Life. He sees fitness as a state of being that includes the “physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.” (That’s where the “4” factors in.)

Kat is his prickly alpha female employee; Trevor’s top personal trainer (something she reminds him of incessantly), whom we first see sprinting after a client’s minivan as it cruises through a residential neighborhood. Kat throws herself in front of the bumper so she can bust the woman for eating a verboten cupcake — and for being late on her gym payments. In a nice subversion of expectations, Kat is much more likely to be accused of roid rage than the more-sensitive Trevor ever is.

Then there’s schlubby Danny, who lurks around P4L before finally skulking inside. Newly divorced but also newly rich, he’s ready to throw down as much cash as it takes to help him into a new body and a new life. But he’s vague about the results he’s looking for. “I want to be able to take a punch,” he says.

Though it’s a comedy, Results is a nice character study showing us how loneliness calls to loneliness — though “lonely” is one of the last things at least two of these people would admit to feeling. To give away much more of the plot would rob it of its slight but ongoing surprises. (That includes a fun cameo by an actor playing a Slavic kettlebell guru who Trevor hopes will join the P4L team.)

Results plays like a slightly stoned screwball comedy — a love triangle that you can’t quite predict, because Bujalski tweaks the form in sly new ways. (A long-awaited declaration of love is followed by the line, “We’re both so screwed — we’re really, really screwed.”)

In this movie, you discover what’s going on around the same time the characters themselves start to sort out their lives. Not everything works here, and the movie is minor. But it’s made with intelligence — and for adults. In multiplexes increasingly monopolized by giant Hollywood machines based on comic books, that’s a rare treat.

Results. With Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan. Written and directed by Andrew Bujalski. Rated R. 105 minutes. At Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.

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