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  Results Fear Excuses Surrender
Year: 2015
Director: Andrew Bujalski
Stars: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Brooklyn Decker, Anthony Michael Hall, Constance Zimmer, Tishuan Scott, Zoe Graham, David Bernon, Elizabeth Berridge
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Trevor (Guy Pearce) runs his own gym, and with that his own health philosophy that he hopes will catch on and make a real success of his business. One of his employees is Kat (Cobie Smulders), who works as a trainer and has a reputation as one of the hardest-nosed in the whole company, even going as far as chasing down a client who has been lax in paying her fees - the woman was in a car, too. While Kat may be overenthusiastic, a new client who has arrived today is anything but, Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a recent divorcée who has a simple request to Trevor: he wants to be able to take a punch. Fair enough, he's willing to pay in advance, so Trevor assigns him Kat...

Director Andrew Bujalski's film previous to this was the extremely culty Computer Chess, which not everyone liked so far did it go into its own wrapped up quirks and suffocating world of weirdness, ostensibly in a mundane drama that on inspection was anything but. For this follow-up, he appeared to want to be less insular, only in its way Results was as offputting as that other effort, and no less strange for that matter. It looked to all intents and purposes to be a modern romantic comedy, with proper stars and a bright, sunny presentation, yet after ten minutes in the company of these people you would be cottoning on that what you were watching was some wolf in sheep's clothing.

Well, "wolf" is probably pushing it into territory it wouldn't be comfortable in, but this curious hybrid was at once mainstream if you happened to watch a scene or two in isolation, yet if you settled down to watch the whole shebang you would have a hard time getting into what amounted to a forced combination between that and the mumblecore Bujalski made his name with, which was a specific type of indie cinema where a loose, baggy form was more important than pin sharp precision in dialogue or plotting. This made for a very uneasy experience, as if you couldn't quite trust the movie to play by the rules of either, so while there were the odd laugh or three, more likely the impression would be of trying hard to discern what exactly the point was.

If indeed there was a point, as every time, say, Trevor tries to implement the tenets of his guide to a healthy life, the rest of the film deliberately undercuts him, as if to say forget all those rules to live by, shit just happens and if it's good or bad, it's all the same in the end. This can't be bothered attitude to existence seems a strange fit to a story of fitness trainers, and it is, but for the Danny character it's ideal; we don't find out what he's about straight away, but as he invites Kat round to his mansion house we can work out he is very well off, and sure enough he doesn't need to work ever again having earned an inheritance from his late mother. However, we begin to grow concerned of his motives towards Kat as he appears to be taking an obsessive interest in her.

Kat is in the promotional video Trevor has put online, and the scene of Danny watching her bit over and over again on his massive smart TV is genuinely creepy, far from the romcom arena. It's sequences such as that throwing Results off kilter, especially when Danny, against what must be incredible odds, manages to seduce Kat one evening when she's over with booze and cannabis she really knows she should have sworn off, and soon the effect of this slacker lifestyle is rubbing off on her as while she goes on to reject Danny, she does question her direction and ponders if all this fitness really amounts to anything all that useful. She leaves Trevor's business forthwith, which sees him going to the mansion to remonstrate with the heir, then striking up a friendship that sees him similarly question himself, and the sense of enervation, of losing the will to keep up the pretence of something mattering in your time, infects the whole movie. Hence, even though the story is just halfway through, everything that occurs from then on feels superfluous; it's kind of existential in its oppressive way. Music by Justin Rice.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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