Andrew Bujalski earned an earnest little following out of Austin, Texas from his efforts in building up the mumblecore scene but his star has never shined brighter than it did two festival seasons ago with the debut of his offbeat docu-comedy Computer Chess. Expanding on that last project – which used a blend of professionals and non-actors – Bujalski had to contend with being in a whole new league. The majors to his minors, the Globo-Gym to his Average Joes. He admits that the process was very much the same as it’s always been. “I think directing is the same. Whether they’re professionals or non-professionals, everybody has their own insecurities, and their own approach.” The result is Results, an offbeat and messy gym rat comedy that’s still a little pudgy.
With Results, Bujalski is a bit of a narrative hobo, bouncing between three characters who at different points in the story take the spotlight or fade to semi-important or totally unimportant supporting characters. Kevin Corrigan is the first out of the gates playing a overfunded, under-exercised nouveau riche recently planted in Austin, TX. Danny (Corrigan) has no reason to be there beyond the fact that he just picked up some fat inheritance check a stone’s throw away and just seemed to plop down into a Lazy Boy of a McMansion, bong in hand and delivery pizza on speed dial.
Looking for a project, he decides to invest in himself as one might in Apple stocks. He contacts Australian self-help guru/fitness trainer Trevor (Guy Pearce) and offers to pay him the first few years of membership cost up front. As if that’ll be some all-encompassing motivation tactic to ensure his getting into shape. When irascible aerobic coach Kat (Cobie Smulders) shows up at the door, Danny’s dreams of six pack abs swoon into fantasies of landing this pretty piece of Southern pie and a swirling threesome of crushes and crunches develops.
Results is a film that’s small in scope but sweeping in terms of its reach. The micro-breadth of the film – one that lives and breathes the independent spirit – soon balloons into something bigger and bolder, but not necessarily better. Bujalski takes narrative leaps in the character’s emotional and business lives, weaving a sticky web that leaves his characters stranded in a knot of interconnectedness. But the handiwork feels more like the entanglement of iPhone cords than by precise arachnid design.
Stilted and knowingly jumpy editing leaves general logic gaps polluting Result‘s saggy middle section, jettisoning its characters into convoluted triangular form and forcing them to apprehensively resolve this tension by invention. Thankfully, Corrigan, Smulders and Pearce are all up to the task of making these characters worthwhile even if their situational irony is often as hamstrung as Corrigan after a workout sesh. Bujalski certainly has something to say here, he just lays it on too thick or too thin and never quite just right, ultimately stranding Results among the realm of those still desperately trying to get in shape but unsure of how to take the next step.