Feel the Burn (Film Review: “Results”)

A peculiar post-modern love story – of sorts – set in the offbeat world of fitness training. Strangely involving.

SnapShot Plot

If you’re looking for a feel-good, ‘meet-cute’ romantic comedy that checks off all those sentimental tropes, I urge you to skip the deadpan yet weirdly watchable Results and head for more familiar terrain. The story, about an offbeat love triangle between two fitness trainers and their out of shape, would-be client, leaves one almost batting for no one in the end, and yet. . .

Aussie actor Guy Pearce plays Trevor, the aspirational owner of an Austin-based fitness studio who thinks himself a guru for his blended approach to fitness, incorporating holistic wellness principles with those of basic strength/weight loss training. At first we think he’s basically a desperate salesman with fairly good game, but quickly realize he’s quite sincere about his mission in the world.

Trevor’s star personal trainer is snarky Kat (played by Cobie Smulders), whose exacting personality and take-no-prisoners style is a bit much for some of her clients. The film opens with a hilarious sequence in which Kat literally runs down a car driven by one of her weight loss clients after spotting the woman getting behind the wheel eating a cupcake. When Danny, a paunchy middle-aged guy (played by Kevin Corrigan) saunters into the gym, stating he wants to get in shape enough that he can “take a punch”, Trevor reluctantly assigns him to Kat for 1-on-1 training at his mostly empty Mcmansion. Corrigan has had a long career playing counter culture, fringe characters with marginally sinister motives. In this movie, he’s much more front and center, yet still plays with his role in twisty and taunting ways that make us wonder at his true motives.

Expectedly, Danny becomes taken (somewhat innocently) with Kat, perhaps more to do with her naturally aloof personality as with her soldier-like butt of steel. Unexpectedly, she becomes somewhat drawn to him, too, although it doesn’t lead where one might think. When Trevor forges an unlikely friendship – leading to a business relationship – with Danny, the triangle is set and where the allegiances (if any) will fall is anyone’s guess.

Parting Shot

Written and directed by Andrew Bujalski, whose insular characterizations have dubbed him the “godfather of mumblecore” in this film he has subverted the genre to the point that you almost check out about halfway through, only to be strung along by something resembling curiosity but perhaps is something more. Maybe its the nagging sense that the ethos of the world of fitness training has substituted physicality for spirituality, something Trevor seems to know in his heart and longs to correct. Or too, it’s the fact that these characters have no problem being intimately physical with absolute strangers, while the real intimacy of an emotional connection poses more of a threat than an overload of carbs on a paleo diet. Sometimes you gotta feel, even when it burns.

Results is presently streaming on Netflix.

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YouTube Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoM_dM7tQvI

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