Magnolia Pictures

Reviewed by: Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer for Shockya..

Grade: B

Director: Andrew Bujalski

Screenwriter: Andrew Bujalski

Cast: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker, Constance Zimmer

Opens: May 29, 2015

At the final quarter of Results, Danny (Kevin Corrigan) says to three young women sitting on a living room sofa: “Hey, I am having a party tonight and you are invited”. The ladies look at this flabby, divorced man in his mid-forties in disbelief, so he continues: “I am no douche bag, you know?”

Danny arrived to Texas directly from New York City, after his mother’s death. Since he was awarded large inheritance and a three-level home, in waste-land suburbia, his major problem is what to do with all this good fortune. His first stop is at the Power 4 Life fitness center where he pays $25,000 (!) for two years of private lessons. His trainer is a no-nonsense twenty-nine year old Kat (Cobie Smulders), who considers him a money machine. When Kat crosses the line and starts smoking weed with her client Danny sees a potential romance in the horizon. He arranges an evening “training session” with her that includes: a candle-light dinner, gourmet food cooked by a chef and live guitar music. Kat sits at the dinner table for a minute, then walks out swiftly, and later dumps Danny from her client list.

Kat herself is a “no-strings-attached” person that does not like personal commitment. Her face is expressionless most of the time and her activities during the day or night include: drinking green kale beverages, jogging and giving private fitness-training lessons to rich middle-aged men.

Her manger and owner of Power 4 Life, Trevor (Guy Pearce), likes to keep his business and love life separate. His major aim is to open a larger fitness center and his obsession with fitness knows no boundaries, so even his dog has to go on morning runs with him. At one scene we watch Trevor ordering an egg-white omelet. The wait-staff person wants to know “Why is this version better than the “usual””, to which Trevor replies: “No, it’s not better, but it has no saturated fat”, to which the waitress replies: “Mmmmmm”.

All these dysfunctional characters end up together, without really trying. and this romantic comedy film is actually a comedy-satire about the health fitness craze that hit Texas, of all places. Among all the tacos, tortillas and other Tex-Mex cuisine the clients of Power 4 Life try to keep a healthy, trendy life style with all the clichés attached.

Director Andrew Bujalski does a good job with the three main leads. Guy Pearce as Trevor appears here in top physical shape, proving us that his training in amateur bodybuilding and fencing did not go in vain. Cobie Smulders as Kat proves quite convincing as a physical trainer, yet her performance has a certain flatness, even while admitting her love to Trevor. Kevin Corrigan as Danny steals the show with his clumsiness and awkwardness, while playing the role of a “schlemiel par excellence”.

Filmed in Austin and Marfa, Texas and New York City, Returns is a romantic comedy without the romance. Funny at times, it may generate more contempt than good feelings among audiences.

Unrated. 105 minutes. © Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer

Story: B

Acting: B+

Technical: B-

Overall: B




By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

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