Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Results": Fails To Produce Even An Awkward Laugh

Now Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Do you ever feel like there’s a joke you just aren’t in on, like the people telling the joke think they’re being incredibly funny but you just have no idea what they’re going on about?  That is perhaps the most concise summary of Results that I can provide.  Ostensibly a comedy that relies upon the awkward and uncomfortable performances of its cast, I never understood when I was supposed to laugh or what it was that drove the plot forward.  This film is a jumbled mess of half-formed jokes, and apparently that’s the punchline.

The story revolves around three people: Trevor (Guy Pearce), the owner of a local fitness center in Austin; Kat (Cobie Smulders), one of the personal trainers who works at said fitness center; and Danny (Kevin Corrigan), an average dude who has inherited an obscene amount of money and decides to spend some of it on hiring a personal trainer.  Beyond these broad character portraits, though, I couldn’t really tell you what Results is actually about.  It seems at first as though Kat and Danny are going to establish some sort of romantic comedy chemistry, yet Danny quickly comes off as creepy and disturbing in a way that I’m sure was meant to be endearing but feels manipulative and threatening.  Prior to abandoning that plot thread, Trevor feels vestigial until it suddenly comes to light that he and Kat had had a former sexual relationship, which the film had never hinted at until it suddenly becomes relevant and, although never quite the focus of the “story,” is apparently the key to the film’s happy ending.  The plot has the feeling of being made up as it goes along, and it’s difficult to keep up with all the new information casually spewed at you.

This has a lot to do with the film’s script seemingly being written for efficiency’s sake rather than immersive storytelling.  Characters don’t have much in the way of definitive personalities beyond their broad archetypes, and their dialogue often feels stilted and inhuman.  There were multiple times where a character started on Topic A, then immediately started talking about Topic C, but there was no transitional Topic B in order to make the conversation feel natural.

I think that this was perhaps done intentionally in order to accentuate the awkwardness of the characters and play it up for laughs, but the film never gets as far as making an actual joke.  The awkward situations aren’t intrinsically funny, and the uncomfortable tension never gets relieved by the saving grace of a punchline.  Instead, what results is scene after scene of these three characters interacting in a variety of manners that will make you question how they even got here, and thinking back on the experience isn’t ludicrous for comedy’s sake, but is only frustrating.

Maybe I just don’t get the joke.  Maybe I’m not pretentious enough to appreciate what this film has to offer.  But my gods, Results is an uncomfortable mess of a film with unlikeable characters, horrible writing, and an entirely misplaced sense of comedic timing.  This is one of the worst films I’ve seen all year.  It belongs with the likes of Wild Horses, Get Hard, and Serena.  It’s that bad.  Skip this movie.  It barely counts as one.

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