Pretty Good Shape For The Shape You’re In (Results)

I watched “Results” this week because I like watching Guy Pearce act, the man has range. Pearce gave an award-worthy performance as the Quite-Peeved Max figure in “The Rover” David Michod’s stark, brutal film where the characters are still reeling from a global economic collapse. He was involved in Michod’s debut “Animal Kingdom” (2010) doing that cop-with-principles thing he first did in “LA Confidential” (1997). There are the 2 films he made with another Australian director John Hillcoat. He was a less upright agent of the law in “Lawless” (2012) & one of the bad band of brothers pursued by Ray Winstone in the great “The Proposition” (2005). Then there is, of course, Christopher Nolan’s magnificent mindfuck “Memento”.

As I said, I’m a fan. I have not seen “Iron Man 3” (2013), I have younger people to do that for me. I had to watch “Hateship Loveship”  (2013)  for myself as my staff  saw Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids” &  have understandably decided to give any of her subsequent work a swerve. I have even sat uncomfortably through “The Time Machine” (2002). I’m no stalker, he was in over 400 episodes of the Aussie soap “Neighbours” & I missed some of those.

I didn’t watch “Results” because Pearce’s co-star is Cobie Smulders, Robin off of “How I Met Your Mother”, a hateful US sit com which, I think, is about a man lying to women so that he can have sex with them then boasting about it to some children-in-adult’s bodies…no thanks. What I didn’t know & I probably should have, is that “Results” is the new film by writer-director Andrew Bujalski whose 4 previous no-to-low budget movies had earned him the title of “Godfather of Mumblecore”, a snarky catch-all for some interesting naturalistic American independent films. Bujalski’s “Computer Chess” (2013) is a smart as a whip fake documentary, set in 1980, about a gathering of proto-geeks, brains the size of a planet, hoping to prove that their machine can play a board game better than someone else’s. Now he gets to point his camera at some people we have heard of & it’s about time that a bigger audience gets to see his smart films.

“Results” is an anti-rom com. In Bujalski’s movies the protagonists are flawed individuals, y’know like real people. Ambitious gym owner Trevor (Pearce) & personal trainer with an attitude Kat (Smulders) are an unlikable pair, physical well being is all good but a person’s social skills depends on more than an ability to pump a load of iron. Their hermetic world of health & happiness is challenged by the arrival of Danny, a newly wealthy, recently divorced, middle aged man, overweight & disconsolate. The master stroke of the film is the casting of Kevin Corrigan, an actor who has always caught the eye, as the 3rd point of this eccentric triangle.

Kevin Corrigan has added value to some good movies over the years without ever  moving on up the credits. I was recently revisiting with Martin McDonagh’s violent & funny “Seven Psychopaths” (2012). It has a great cast, Farrell, Rockwell, Walken, Woody H, with small parts for Tom Waits, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Pitt & Corrigan. It was good to see him passing through the film, it’s what he does & I hadn’t noticed him for a while. He had another blink & you’ll miss him role in “Life of Crime” (2014) the entertaining “Jackie Brown” prequel based on Elmore Leonard’s novel “The Switch”. New Yorker Kevin played Ray Liotta’s younger brother in “Goodfellas” & DiCaprio’s drug dealing cousin Sean in “The Departed”. It’s a pity that he was born too late for the early Scorsese movies. He would have been right at home on those mean streets & maybe things would have been different.

Corrigan has done his deadpan stoner thing in a lot of indie films that I haven’t seen. He appeared in “True Romance”, who didn’t ? He is great in Tom DiCillo’s ensemble piece”Living In Oblivion” (1995), the assistant cameraman in a motley crew assembled by director Steve Buscemi. He hooked up with the same pair 10 years later for the less successful “Delirious” (see above). When Buscemi directed for real Kevin was in a couple of those too. There are other noteworthy films, it’s a list, it’s on the Internet somewhere, you know where to find it. In “Results” it’s a jolt to see him as an older man, world-weary, still smoking, trying to work out how & if his money can buy him love. It’s a buzz to see him star in a movie & he, as the Americans say, hits it out of the park. “I don’t want to be a rageaholic muscleman anyway, you guys can keep it. I’m gonna stick with pudgy & mellow”…oh yeah !

“Results” isn’t the best movie you will see this year, that may be “Wild Tales”. If you have never seen any of Bujalski’s previous films you may wonder just what the heck these characters are doing on screen. I like good American comedy films. Remember when John Landis was making movies, when Steve Martin was funny ? Now I get to see films starring Paul Rudd (“Our Idiot Brother”, “Wanderlust”, “Admission”, there’s a bunch) or Jason Bateman (“Bad Words”, those Bosses). I see Peter Bogdanovich remove the wit & flamboyance from screwball comedy (“She’s Funny That Way”) & it makes me frown. “Results” is an intelligent, well made film. There’s a touch of Wes Anderson’s Tenenbaum dysfunction, a hint of Woody Allen’s early, funny films. It also brings to mind the films that Albert Brooks directed. Comedy that takes its time, y’know, for grown ups.

“Results” is a fine nudge towards the mainstream for a talented director, an addition to Guy Pearce’s individual career choices &, at last, a chance for Kevin Corrigan, a very fine actor, to finally give a top of the bill performance that I’ve been waiting for.Well, it made me laugh.