Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell, Zoey Deutch
Running Time: 116 minutes
In the opening moments of EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!, The Knack’s “My Sharona” blares out through an era appropriate sound systems while we survey a freshman’s first introduction into the unsupervised college life. Within these first few moments Richard Linklater successfully welcomes the viewer to the 1980s and establishes the mood with soft testosterone fueled conversations that includes beer, cowboy boots and the benefits of sex on a waterbed.
He also builds the framework in which this spiritual successor to DAZED AND CONFUSED makes the most of throughout its running time; resulting in a much-needed jolt of fun for the box-office.
At first glance, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! has a very simple story. Jake (Blake Jenner) is starting at Southern Texas University as one of the newest members of their prestigious baseball team. Because of the teams stature, the town has donated two houses, which are essentially frat-houses for the various team members to live in. Given that the film takes places during the last few days before the semester begins (and months before baseball season starts), we spend most of our time learning about what drives these characters. For these boys it’s about how many chicks can they bang on the road to a baseball championship.
But this is what appears on the surface level. Linklater’s specialty is creating grounded characters as a means of expression, which he puts to great use here. EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! is an open window into how the world moves constantly moves around us, and the self-journey required to live in the moment. By having this layer underneath, every scene is contextualized as an affirming moment of self-awareness.
It would be easy to write off EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! as another stoner comedy meant for parties, and to be fair, the character presented could easily fit into this description, yet each have their own quirks and faults. In fact, the film is filled with the absolute brim with characters, each of which are given their own spotlight. While Blake Jenner does a great job with the role of Jake he mostly serves as an audience surrogate, lacking any distinct personality. Yet it’s the simplicity of characters and story that makes the film so enjoyable, as anyone can walk out of the film with their own unique interpretation or favorite character (for the record, my favorite character had to be the philosophical Finnegan, played by Glen Powell).
As much as EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! revels in the moment, the film also touches upon what happens when you live in the moment for too long. A sub-plot involving Wyatt Russell’s Willoughby offers a poignant look at this thematic presence. One of the recurring elements of the film involves the various teammates perusing the local bars, each of which serves as a retrospective of a musical genre in American history. Beyond creating a fantastic soundtrack, it serves a point to show these characters exploring and living in the moment.
It’s also worth noting that, despite the overall character actions of the film, the film is very open to its female characters. Yes, some enjoy the debauchery as much as the men, but the film often paints the men as losers unable to actually converse with women. Jake finds a pseudo-love interest in Beverly (Zoey Deutch) whose theatrical arts major serves as a conflicting viewpoint from the athletic cast. While she might have little screen time, she shines in every moment; taking time to illuminate the simple-minded yet passionate behavior of her male counterparts.
Now, I’ve talked a lot about why this film is so great, yet have barely discussed what kind of film EVERYBODY WANTS SOME actually is. The film is a vulgar, profanity fueled, hard-R laugh riot that never stops smiling. Towards the end the film might lean a little too heavy into its message, but for the most part the film is balanced brilliantly.
With EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! Linklater has managed to express a lot about youth and life without every needed to say it. It’s a well-crafted joyride that’s unapologetically honest in its depiction of youth.
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! opens in the US on April 8 and in the UK on May 13.