“Set in the world of Texas fitness instructors and starring some big-name actors, Andrew Bujalski’s Results looks at first like a concerted attempt to cross over into the world of mainstream rom-coms,” begins Bilge Ebiri at Vulture. “But look again. Bujalski, a onetime ‘mumblecore’ wunderkind (yeah, though he hates the M-word, and with good reason), has always toyed structurally with familiar stories. And Results feels so free-form, so liberated from the shackles of genre, that it becomes its own wonderfully alive and unpredictable thing. Plus, it’s funny as shit.”
“Results is set in and around an Austin gym owned by a personal trainer and aspiring fitness guru named Trevor (Guy Pearce),” explains Wesley Morris at Grantland. “When a miserably divorced, newly wealthy, recently transplanted New Yorker named Dan (Kevin Corrigan) drops in looking for house-call sessions, Trevor reluctantly pairs him with his most aggressive trainer, Kat (Cobie Smulders). But Dan is more interested in companionship than getting in shape…. When he invites her to get high with him, she surprises herself—and us—by sitting at his kitchen counter and inhaling from his pipe. He thinks this is romance. She doesn’t know what she’s thinking. Things go comically south. Trevor steps in to chastise Dan in Kat’s honor, but eventually finds himself becoming a friend. And as you’re watching, you’re never entirely sure where Bujalski is taking this thing. That’s partly the source of its exhilaration: He’s written this movie beautifully, but it doesn’t follow any conventional script.”
The AV Club‘s A.A. Dowd notes that Results is “as slickly shot and directed as Computer Chess was rough and intentionally primitive-looking. Some fans have already expressed disappointment that a true original filmmaker has made a swerve for the mainstream, but Results is no sellout move. If anything, it proves that the filmmaker’s offbeat sensibilities are malleable enough to be applied to something more superficially ‘traditional.'”
Among those expressing disappointment, by the way, is Mike D’Angelo. “Results doesn’t exactly see him return to the inarticulate fumbling of Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation, but its glossier, comparatively star-studded portrait of emotional stagnation nonetheless feels like a step back.” Noel Murray, also at the Dissolve, likes Results “more than Mike, though I’m not as wild about it as some of our other friends here. It’s too slack for a comedy, and Guy Pearce’s and Cobie Smulders’s acting styles don’t always fit with Bujalski’s sensibility—or with Kevin Corrigan, who plays the third prong in the movies’ bent love triangle. But Corrigan’s very funny doing his half-Walken/half-Brando schtick, and it’s fun to watch two people as fit and attractive as Pearce and Smulders fumble towards a connection.”
“A perfectly chosen cast sells this unhurried comedy,” finds John DeFore in the Hollywood Reporter.
“As Danny, Corrigan is a perfect pothead, as he exudes his pudgy gut and mellow vibe,” writes Anthony Kaufman in Screen. “Offering a stark counterpoint to Corrigan are Pearce’s terrific portrayal of Trevor and Smulders’s Kat, both of whom find ways to compensate for their emptiness—he with an enthusiastic dedication to physical fitness platitudes and her with a lacerating attitude. And just for fun, Giovanni Ribisi shows up as a stoner lawyer and Anthony Michael Hall makes an appearance as a Russian bodybuilder. They’re all so screwed up, but Bujalski shows such an affection for the characters and their faults that it also makes them endearing.”
More from Eric Kohn (Indiewire, B) and Rodrigo Perez (Playlist, B). Indiewire hands its Sundance questionnaire to Bujalski. And Magnolia Pictures has acquired world rights, reports Variety‘s Dave McNary.
Updates, 1/31: “Bujalski, who started out in movies seeming like the love child of John Cassavetes and French director Jean Eustache (whose marathon 1973 talkfest is The Mother and the Whore is an acknowledged influence), has more recently tilted in the direction of Altmanesque group portraiture, and Results furthers the trend,” writes Variety‘s Scott Foundas. “It gives off a warmly inviting glow. Once he’s worked through the basic set-up, Bujalski puts the plot on the back burner and lets his characters collide and ricochet off one another with a laconic comic grace.”
“Bujalski and his longtime d.p. Matthias Grunsky demonstrate a great handle on the comic potential of framing,” notes Sarah Salovaara at Filmmaker. “When Kat and Danny first meet, Bujalski places them in a wide shot, on separate shrink-wrapped couches, on opposite sides of the room, allowing their bodies to register every reaction. (It goes without saying that a film about fitness is a goldmine of physical comedy.) After the two spend a night together, Danny invites Kat over for what she thinks is a late night workout session. As she summits Danny’s roof patio, the camera shakily backs off her stunned expression to reveal a jazz band, then a candlelit dinner, and then a chef’s table, all in one wonderfully goofy take.”
“Scenes occasionally run too long and some of the strands don’t really go anywhere, but it’s off-balance, frisky, and enchanting,” finds Flavorwire‘s Jason Bailey.
Filmmaker gets a few words with Bujalski.
Updates, 2/1: “Recast this film with rom-com staples, rewrite just a bit, and film it in a style more common to the genre and you’d have a nearly unbearable film,” writes Brian Tallerico at RogerEbert.com. “It’s remarkable how much just a few key decisions can swing a romantic comedy from disaster to success. Results is one of the best rom-coms of the last few years, as Bujalski grounds his characters in unpredictable yet believable ways.”
Jada Yuan talks with Smulders for Vulture.
Update, 2/23: For Jack Giroux at the Film Stage, “if there’s one major reason why the film ultimately succeeds, it’s because of this pack of reliable actors turning in entertaining performances.”