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Everybody Wants Some
Genre Comedy
 
Review:

Slacker was one of Richard Linklater's first feature films, which roamed Austin, Texas as a day in the life of social misfits, outcasts and oddballs played out. With no discernible plot, this set in motion self-taught writer-director Richard Linklater's appetite for rambling films with colourful characters. In 1993, he did it again with Dazed and Confused, which followed the adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976. The nostalgic music, meandering storyline and presence of up-and-coming stars, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck made this a cult hit.

Everybody Wants Some returns to this free-range formula, where being in the moment and embracing a here-and-now hedonism take centre stage. Referred to as a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some takes place in the 1980s as a group of college baseball players enjoy the last few days before the start of class, finding their place in an unsupervised college environment.

Once again, Linklater has immersed us in the life and times, taking root in the nostalgia of the era as records, tapes and transitional dress sense inform the eye and music from The Knack, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick and Sugarhill Gang, the ear. While an ensemble comedy drama, Blake Jenner takes the lead role as Jake, a new recruit and freshman entering the baseball team's frat house. With each member a high school hotshot, a strong competitive spirit emerges as the brotherhood try to establish themselves through sporting prowess and testosterone-fuelled misadventures.

Jenner is supported by Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, Temple Baker, J. Quinton Johnson, Tanner Kalina, Forrest Vickery, Will Brittain, Austin Amelio, Ryan Guzman, Juston Street and Zoey Deutch. While it centres on Jake, Everybody Wants Some is a real team effort allowing each of the cast members to shine and enjoying terrific on-screen chemistry that feels real. While a relatively unknown cast, this adds to the authenticity, believability and will no doubt be a launchpad for many of the actors featured in this film.

It's difficult to single out a few performances when the "no I in TEAM" characters jell so well. Blake Jenner plays a generous lead and likable tour guide, whose moral compass is tested as he tries to be one of the men, while carving his own path. He and Zoey Deutch make a good romantic pairing, which almost echoes the synergy Love Story. Glen Powell wields great energy and the inner confidence of Brad Pitt, while Tyler Hoechlin works well as the egotistic and cantankerous McReynolds. Juston Street is hilarious as Jay, playing a character who could warrant his own spin-off starring Jim Carrey.

Linklater's script bristles with life, concocting a story that moves by association as the ragtag crew move from one party or bar to the next in a never-ending quest for women. The dialogue seems spontaenous, almost like he gave the characters freedom to ad lib in the moment. The theme of sexuality dominates the film, forms the primary motivation for the characters and drives the narrative. As college jocks, it's either about baseball or scoring with ladies, making the baseball back story the perfect metaphor.

For some, especially those that lived in a similar fraternity or boarding arrangement, Everybody Wants Some will come across as an accurate, maybe even nostalgic depiction of life with the boys. For others, the hedonistic behaviour and locker room language will serve as a fascinating behind-the-scenes, which will disgust or amuse you based on your frame of reference. Either way, you can't deny the underhanded charm at play, which will keep you curious even if off-balance and offended.

Linklater ordinarily gets the benefit of the doubt, based on the strength of his filmography, however, the sporadic cursing and single-minded letchery alienates rather than invites, and while necessary to establish a suspended reality, begins to chip away at its overall entertainment value. Despite this, the collective chemistry, organic dialogue, immersive production values, charming performances, freewheeling direction and classic rock soundtrack all bond together to create a wonderfully entertaining comedy about camaraderie and college exploits.

The bottom line: Charming


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