EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! Starring: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell, Juston Street, J. Quinton Johnson, and Zoey Deutch. Directed by Richard Linklater. Rated MA 15+. Restricted. (Strong coarse language, sex and drug use). 117 min.
This American comedy-drama focuses on a team of college baseball players in 1980 at a small, Southeast Texas university, who enter College three days before its classes start in the Fall. In comic and rambling style, the film explores the nature of College life in the USA. It was a time when youth searched for meaning, and faced the temptations of unrestrained living.
Jake (Blake Jenner), joins a college basketball team, and lives off-campus with the rest of the team. He and fellow team members have no supervision whatsoever. The team contains an over- competitive, confident male (Tyler Hoechlin), a smooth talking philosopher who is a committed ladies man (Glen Powell) ), an ego-driven sports star who likes alcohol too much (Wyatt Russell), a belligerent weirdo (Juston Street), a single black team-mate (J. Quinton Johnson), and other types. All of them are looking for good times, out to beat each other, and most of them are girl-crazy.
This is a movie that takes Richard Linklater's previous film, "Boyhood" (2014), one inevitable step forward. It shows us idealistic youth, motivated by unchecked freedom, finding its way erratically to adulthood.
Everyone behaves in outlandish ways. The language and morals that the film demonstrates are confronting and unacceptable, but they characterise a number of young people in the period that the film displays. The movie presents youth caught between the constraints of their high school, the promise of liberation from those constraints, and the anxiety-arousing pressures of life that lay ahead. Boys pursue girls, like Beverly (Zoey Deutch), sometimes for genuine romance, but the movie is mostly about male dominance: Who wins matters, and being the first male to beat the others on any front is important. The acting all throughout the movie, however, is extraordinarily naturalistic, and the spontaneity that is captured by the cast is a special feature of the film.
There is little probing into the attitudes or behaviour of any one character. Rather, the film is a socially informed piece of observational cinema. The dialogue is believable and realistic, the cast acts as an ensemble piece, and the direction of the movie by Linklater is generously tolerant.
No moral messages in this film can emerge positively from the behaviour or attitudes of the young people at the centre of the movie. But the film does offer a statement on the need to understand the frustrations and anxieties that beset young people on their journey to adulthood. The film communicates the message that one needs to hear and comprehend the anxieties of the young, and if that doesn't occur, the movie hints to us that the opportunity for change will be missed.
This is a relaxed and meandering film. It is loosely structured and offers very little plot. However, it captures forcefully the spirit of the times among a group of young people, who are awash with personal insecurities. It is the first time any of them have been away from home, and they all want to make a "competition" of it. They size each other up as males, drink, swear, talk coarsely, take drugs, and try to get any attractive girl around to have sex with them. The movie's point is not for the viewer to like them, but rather to understand them, and Linklater pursues that goal effectively.
This is an entertaining film that is heavily nostalgic, and it comically shows us lives that are clearly troubled. However, Linklater chooses to stand too much apart from what he shows us, not wanting to analyse things in detail just in case the spontaneity of everything starts to fade away, and lest we be distracted by the anxieties that obviously lie there, somewhere, underneath. His direction is assured, comic, and understanding, but the film is hedonistic in tone and dramatically superficial.
Peter W. Sheehan is associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting
Released June 23rd., 2016