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Everybody Wants Some!!

An entertaining slice of '80s college life.
By Sarah Ward
July 01, 2016
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By Sarah Ward
July 01, 2016
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Set in 1980, Everbody Wants Some!! follows a university baseball team as they prepare to commence the next semester, and feels in a lot of ways like the movie Richard Linklater was destined to make. As the film ambles through the antics of teens and twenty-somethings embarking upon the next chapter of their lives (read: drinking and chasing girls), it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's a spiritual sequel to the writer-director's 1993 effort Dazed and Confused. In painting a portrait of young men becoming adults in the most routine of ways, it also acts as a very apt follow-up to the filmmaker's last effort, Boyhood.

Rather than charting the final day of high school, or capturing the process of growing up over the course of 12 years, Linklater's latest chronicles the weekend before the start of college classes. When Jake (Blake Jenner) parks his car outside of the team lodgings he's about to call home, he's clearly excited, and just as obviously trying to make sure he appears cool, calm and collected. That careful attitude colours his interactions with his new housemates, whether they're welcoming him with open arms or pronouncing their strong dislike of pitchers. By day, they mostly sit or drive around. By night, they try their luck with the opposite sex at bars and parties.

Cue a film with plenty of talk and testosterone, not as much action as any of the characters would like, but plenty of the kind of carefree moments that everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. As Jake's fellow baseballers flit through the narrative, some make a bigger impression than others – including ladies man McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), bearded stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), and confident veteran Finnegan (Glen Powell). However, as they sling insults at each other, trade in exaggerated stories and natter on about whatever comes into their heads, they all play their part in this freewheeling slice of life.

Accordingly, Everybody Wants Some!! is the ultimate hangout flick, about a bunch of guys just shooting the shit when they're not expected to do anything else. There's no missing the nostalgia driving Linklater's warmly amusing movie, with his images tinted with the glow of happy memories, his camera placed to make the viewer think they're part of the gang, and his soundtrack overflowing with '80s hits like 'My Sharona' and 'Rapper's Delight'. That said, there's also no mistaking the way that the filmmaker simply presents rather than probes, such as when it comes to Jake's romance with fellow freshman Beverly (Zoey Deutch). He's not making a statement — he's just happy to linger in the group's company.

Don't confuse the film's laidback vibe with a lack of smarts or precision though. As Linklater proved with his charming romantic trio Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, it takes careful planning and pitch-perfect performances to make something look and feel so easy and effortless. Like their director, the ensemble cast rarely hit a bad note, with Jenner and Russell certain stars in the making. The film's title might stem from a Van Halen song, but as this group whiles away several days, Everybody Wants Some!! earns its exclamation marks.

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