' ' Cinema Romantico: Results

Monday, July 13, 2015


Trevor (Guy Pearce), a tanned, muscled proprietor of a startup gym, has coined his own personal fitness mantra, Power4Life, stipulating an improvement of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. It doesn’t sound so much like a crock as over-earnest cluelessness. Still, Trevor really believes it. He’s prone to “actualizing.” He can stand in the facility that will house his dream gym and “actualize” how it will all look, right down to the smoothie bar. He stresses selecting a specific goal and working hard to attain it. Yet if Andrew Bujalski’s snappy little film illustrates anything, it’s that the “Results” achieved aren’t always identical to those intended. It’s one of those films where it truly feels as if the characters are dictating the story rather than vice-versa, and that’s to suggest that life itself is shaping and re-arranging the characters. Power4Life is powerless in the face of Shit Happening.

“Results” begins with Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a flabby, moody oddball of a man, newly rich and just divorced, entering the office of Trevor and expressing in a peculiarly roundabout way that he wants to get in shape. So Trevor dispatches Kat (Cobie Smulders), an intense to the extreme personal trainer. Trevor and Kat once had a fling but called it off, ostensibly because it was “unprofessional”, but maybe more because Trevor simply prefers the solitude of his own statuesque physique. (He has a daughter. She’s never seen and only referred to twice.) Or maybe it’s because Kat is too uncompromising to handle, like a Trump-ish trainer who only sees the world in terms of successes and total losers. Really, though, she doesn’t seem to work out to stay in shape so much as burn off excessive torrents of stress and anger, and so it never feels like a stretch when Danny, his work ethic already apparently dubious, asks if she wants to smoke a little pot. She agrees, and this sends the trio spinning through the revolving door of romance.

It’s a love triangle, but one viewed from an oblique angle. Everyone’s feelings for other the person are never quite explicit, not even to themselves, specifically because these characters emotions and attitudes tread such shaky ground. Though its rom com formula, it’s not based on the usual misunderstandings and idiot plots but on the characters various anxieties and foolish certainties. Even though you know the film is tracking toward a happy ending, you’re never quite certain how the screenplay is going about reaching it, as if it’s taking an unfamiliar alternate route. And what begins as a love triangle eventually gives way to something else, professional complications that yield emotional awakenings. Nothing is all terribly surprising but you believe the characters have, in their respective ways, surprised themselves. Trevor, Kat and Danny repeatedly push each other way, yet come to realize that in strange ways they are entirely dependent upon one another.

A film so centered on behavior is keyed by its performance and each actor here is great. Pierce goes all in on positivity. A character like this could have been a lunkhead, but Pierce turns him into a ray of light, while Smulders constant fury is never overbearing, just an acute case of confusion expressed through excessive temper. Corrigan, though, long an under-the-radar if gloriously, entertainingly eccentric character actor, is a revelation. 100% vanity free, he’s flabby, sweaty, creepy, and his hair is constantly askew. He’s repugnant yet endearing because his character turns out to be the most comfortable in his own skin, illustrated by the wonderful closing-credits sequence that finds a red-faced Corrigan blissfully and unashamedly cutting a rug, seemingly to the beat inside his own head, which is the same plain on which the whole off-kilter performance rests.

This last scene feels exactly right, suggesting a change from within rather than on the outside, a man settling into his own body. Trevor and Kat, meanwhile, give themselves over to impulses as opposed to “actualized” plans in a glorious rejection of absolutes and an embracing of the unknown. The conclusion feels more like a way station, one part of a longer evolution, as if you could check in with them again in five, ten years and realize they have wound up somewhere completely different. Results are always pending.


Unknown said...

Really good film. Kevin Corrigan's performance is subtly brilliant and he deserves awards for it.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Prigge said...

"Kevin Corrigan's performance is subtly brilliant and he deserves awards for it." Truth. Here's hoping.