If it surely won’t be remembered as one of the smartest, most imaginative or straight-up best entries into writer-director Richard Linklater’s filmography, this spiritual successor to his 1993 comedy hit Dazed and Confused does nevertheless bring with it a terrifically bro-tastic cast and enough of Linklater’s usual philosophy to satisfy.
It’s Texas, it’s 1980, and freshman college baseball player Jake (Blake Jenner) moves into the house he’ll sharing with his teammates, as they attempt to juggle training for the season with rampant drugs and sex, not to mention occasionally going to class once the term starts.
It’s worth mentioning right off the bat that if you’re going into this one expecting the Linklater that cooked up the Before trilogy and Boyhood, then it might leave you slightly underwhelmed. This is instead a frothy period piece that wins out more because of its excellent cast (largely comprised of unknowns and rising stars) rather than Linklater’s script, which while entertaining for the most part, feels like fairly low-hanging fruit for a filmmaker of his ridiculous talent.
Take it on its own terms, though, and it is absolutely enjoyable, both as a window into a very specific period, and one that both celebrates and satirises male bonding rituals. It may lack the profundity of the aforementioned efforts, but in its own way it has plenty to say about the nature of existence and the pursuits that fill our lives. As usual, Linklater gives us some thoughtful poetry to meditate on as the credits roll, which given the largely hedonistic material, is itself a small miracle.
Still, what’s truly impressive here is the cast; newcomer Jenner likely has a bright future ahead of him, and of his buddies, it’s Glen Powell and Wyatt Russell (son of Kurt) who rise to the top of the pack, while Zoey Deutch (daughter of Lea Thompson) is a charming and much-needed female presence, and Linklater thankfully keeps the romantic aspect of his story fairly subdued.
How much you’ll go for it will likely depend upon your nostalgia for the era, but for those craving a classier take on the typical frat comedy, this should do the job.
Everybody Wants Some!! is in US cinemas now and UK cinemas May 16th