Results movie full length review - Mumblecore goes mainstream and fails miserably
There are a few directors and writers who can get away with engaging character portraits containing little or no plot elements.
Robert Altman and Noah Baumbach come to mind but they are also masters at integrating all elements of a film, so even if the narrative seems unfocused, you still get a sense of cohesion and purpose.
Andrew Bujalski is not in their league and that's a shame. When I looked up his list of credits on IMDb I noticed his debut film from 2002, Funny Ha Ha, which was at the heart of the burgeoning Mumblecore movement, and which I liked a lot. Mumblecore was a school of filmmaking that took a hard left from organically structured films like Richard Linklater's Slacker, and then pushed the freeform structure ever further, relying a lot on improvisation, real-time character development, and actor camaraderie.
Results has all the ingredients of a mainstream Mumblecore movie that should work (great actors, fun premise), yet it doesn't, simply because Bujalski appears to be either totally checked out of the project or perhaps he shot and wrote the movie as cooked as Kevin Corrigan's character appears to be for most of the film.
I'll try to summarize the plot but it's difficult because this film has little in cohesion or logic --- characters make random choices that should be funny, quirky, or odd but only come across as tedious and contrived. Anthony Michael Hall's (in yet another odd, spaced-out walk-on performance, similar to his role in Foxcatcher) character is just such an example. Apparently Hall's physique fit the movie but his character could have been ANYONE... he is yet another sounding board for Guy Pierce and Cobie Smulders on-again/off-again romantic ping pong match that's as boring and pointless as everything else in this train wreck of a movie.
According to most services that try to summarize this movie, it's thrust is Pierce and Smulders, as fitness Nazis so strident in their cult-like beliefs at times that they are almost parodies of themselves, are hired to get Corrigan's rich, depressed butt in shape. Results really doesn't do anything of the sort.
I still can't understand why this movie has received consistently high ratings from critics. The film isn't even shot or cut well. Just when the film appears to be going somewhere it swerves violently into nowheres-ville. This isn't daring maverick work, it's just sloppy and incompetent and an insult to most of the actors in it's fine cast --- not to mention a somewhat dirty trick as it passes itself off as a mainstream film that has virtually nothing to offer a mainstream audience. At least with Funny Ha Ha, indie audiences knew they were getting anything but.