Results Is Andrew Bujalski’s Smoothest, Craftiest Movie Yet

Cobie Smulders in Results. Photo: Magnolia Pictures

The most adorable aspect of Andrew Bujalski’s deadpan-goofy quasi-romance Results is the way two of the three main characters have the hardest bodies imaginable but soft hearts and wooly heads. Cobie Smulders is Kat, the seemingly humorless, compulsively buff (man, she’s in shape, and those cheekbones!) fitness instructor who’s apt to sprint several blocks after cars driven by customers who haven’t paid their bills. Guy Pearce plays Trevor, the taut Aussie owner of an Austin, Texas, gym called Power 4 Life — the “4” also standing for body, heart, mind, and spirit. This is both Trevor’s business and religion: At night he studies videos of fitness philosopher-entrepreneurs, bangs (none too well) on the drums, and curls up in bed with his dog. The wild card — the story’s catalyst — is rich, pudgy Danny (Kevin Corrigan), who moves from New York into an empty mansion with only a TV, gym set, and electric guitar for company. Monitoring his food intake at the behest of his private fitness instructor (Kat), he messages her photos of pizza and beer. She comes by his house (improbably) to smoke weed and (more improbably) wriggle onto his lap and smooch. But she says, “Slow down — no disrobing.”

In life, none of these people — or a fourth character, a scruffy drunken lawyer in a trilby played by Giovanni Ribisi — would likely have much to say one another, but this is a world in which friendship, sex, and work are fluid, boundary-less. Bujalski — a pioneer in the genre come to be known as mumblecore — has made his smoothest, craftiest film, but he remains a dramatic poet of indecision. Muscles, money, materials: Nothing makes the lives of his characters more concrete. They drop in and out of one another’s houses like the eternal college kids they are. The romantic connection between Kat and Trevor is — for a long while — so many leagues below the surface, you expect to see giant squids.

Results has a fairy-tale aspect: Danny’s fortune is almost literally heaven-sent, which means so is his financial support for Trevor’s dream fitness center with its projected Mind Station, Heart Station, and Spirit Station. The characters’ highs aren’t too high or the lows too low. It’s not earthshaking. But it’s very enjoyable for reasons that aren’t easy to explain — although why, unless you’re a critic, do you need a reason for enjoying something? Okay, I’ll point to the actors. Corrigan’s Danny — still longing for his New York ex-wife, whom he doesn’t seem to like but just thinks fits with him — has a way of radiating affability and alienation in the same instant. Smulders (taking a useful break from the Marvel universe) conveys her character’s discombobulation by how hard Kat works to project centeredness. And Pearce makes Trevor so dopey and lovable that his wiry physique makes him seem like a walking non sequitur.

I’d have liked a little more meat on the scene in which Trevor breaks up with his dishy realtor (Constance Zimmer) — it has no meat, being shot from a distance and with no dialogue we’re privy to. But as with so much of this movie, you get the gist. Results — like results — can be excellent without being measurable.