Quick: Think of a few of your favorite movies.
Got the titles in mind? Now think of the lead characters. When you first saw these films and the credits started to roll, wouldn’t you have loved to spend more time with everyone?
That’s how I feel about most of my favorite movie characters, even the darkest ones. As long as Hannibal Lecter’s behind that thick plexiglass wall, I’d love to pick his brain (and hope he never gets the chance to pick at mine).
I’m not so sure I’d want to spend any more time with the three leads in “Results” once their story has been told. By the time the people in this oddball romantic triangle had found their resolutions, they’d pretty much worn out their welcome with me.
But I did enjoy walking alongside them and observing their get-thee-to-a-therapist shenanigans just enough to recommend you do the same.
This is not the kind of rom-com where the good guy races through the airport to tell the love of his life not to get on that plane, or a hot air balloon soars to the heavens as our mismatched couple finally realize they should be together. We’re dealing with three messed-up people who can’t get out of their own way.
“Results” takes place largely in Austin, Texas, but writer-director Andrew Bujalski has chosen locales and camera angles that give the setting a universal, middle America, slightly drab vibe. A buffed Guy Pearce plays Trevor, a personal trainer and self-styled motivational guru who runs a smallish fitness center where he presides over workout classes while dispensing his not particularly deep brand of inspiration. (Basically, Trevor believes if you wish hard enough and visualize your goals, you can make them come true. Quick, somebody contact Oprah!)
Pearce lets his native Australian accent loose, but nobody ever discusses how Trevor came to live in Texas. He’s just here, refereeing disputes between his staffers, contemplating a move to a bigger space and spending time at home chatting with his giant, sweet dog.
Trevor’s most popular trainer is Kat, who is played by Cobie Smulders from TV’s “How I Met Your Mother,” a show I never liked much even though I think it’s pretty close to impossible to not like Cobie Smulders.
Kat’s no fun. She never wears anything but workout clothes. She literally chases down a client in her car to scold her for eating a cupcake from a children’s birthday party. She explodes with rage at the slightest affront, whether it’s a client quitting, an extra charge on a restaurant bill or a guy daring to say he’s attracted to her. When in doubt, Kat just starts running — more like sprinting — through the streets of Austin.
Completing our triangle is Danny (Kevin Corrigan), a New Jersey native who has recently inherited millions and, for reasons never explained, has rented an enormous, sparsely furnished McMansion in Austin, where he spends his time playing his guitar, ordering pizza, smoking dope — and working out under Kat’s unforgiving tutelage.
Danny’s a bit unhinged, terribly sad and pretty hilarious. He falls for Kat, who teases him just enough to make him think he has a shot. Meanwhile, Trevor and Kat keep doing this dance where he clearly wants to tell her he’s in love, and she seems to be interested in casual sex, if that.
There’s a fantastically uncomfortable and funny sequence in which Trevor makes a pilgrimage to the home of a Russian fitness guru, played by Anthony Michael Hall — that’s right, Anthony Michael Hall, who is hilarious. The Russian guru’s wife is Brooklyn Decker, and she’s kinda funny too, how about that.
Giovanni Ribisi plays Danny’s lawyer, who seems to be relatively normal, and when Giovanni Ribisi is playing the least damaged person in a movie, well.
Bujalski’s script is smarter and much weirder (in a good way) than the standard romantic comedy. His characters are funny without ever trying to be funny. Kat in particular is often stridently unlikable, but thanks in no small part to Smulders’ effortless charm, we find ourselves rooting for her to find something approaching happiness.
Playing against type, Pearce does fine work as a good-natured, earnest musclehead who believes having 5 percent body fat makes him some sort of life coach.
Corrigan, who’s interesting in just about everything he’s ever done (he’s been in everything from “Goodfellas” as Henry Hill’s little brother to “Bad Boys” to “Superbad” to “Pineapple Express”), gives one of his most endearing performances as the hapless Danny.
The end result for “Results” is faithful to the buildup. It’s a little implausible, borderline creepy, and though we’ve found our encounter with these folks to be … interesting, we’re ready to quietly sneak to the door and take off.