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Everybody Wants Some!!: Film Review

Two men sit on a couch in the film Everybody Wants Some!!

Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! is a booze and testosterone fuelled exploration of growing up that’s full of charm, humour and great moustaches.

Director: Richard Linklater
Genre: Comedy
Run Time: 117′
Release Date: March 30, 2016
Where to watch: on digital & VOD

Stylised with two exclamation marks to emphasise the fun, Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! is a film that encapsulates the expectation of the college experience. It positions itself in that moment of anticipation every student faces when they step foot on campus for the first time, that moment of wondering ‘who can I be, here?’

It’s indulgent and charming, funny and insightful, and littered with characters who are cool, weird and desperate, but mostly a combination of all three.

Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at the University of Texas on August 28, 1980 with a box of records and a cool car, wide-eyed and eager, full of lust, charm and the tentative confidence of a high school star. He’s immediately inundated with the host of moustached housemates that make up his new baseball team, and the ragtag group meander through parties over the weekend that is simultaneously the first of freedom and the final before the college year officially starts.

Linklater’s film is dripping in nostalgia and affection. Its central group of boys, on the cusp of being men and lavishing in the headiness of college athlete life, feel like the mellower – and much more likeable – counterpoint to the ones in the vulgar sex comedies of the early 2000s. Yes they’re undoubtably ‘bros’, swigging beer, smoking weed, indulging in constant competition and singularly focused on the prospect of sex with girls. But they aren’t insufferable for it. Instead, they’re surprisingly insightful, genuinely funny, and constantly navigating the line between friendship and fighting in a way that feels really authentic.

Everybody Wants Some!! isn’t too concerned with a plot. It’s much more about the vibes and spending time with these young men, and Linklater structures the film around the myriad of parties they find themselves at. From the 70s-soaked disco dancefloors of a nightclub to a house party clouded in the marijuana smoke from pretentious theatre kids – via a cowboy bar and a punk gig, naturally – it’s a meandering and indulgent snapshot of the transformative years they’re embarking on.

Four men sit on tires floating on a lake in the film Everybody Wants Some!!
Everybody Wants Some!! (Annapurna Pictures)

The script is full of beer-soaked existentialism, with most of it delivered by Glen Powell’s (Anyone But You) charismatic Finnegan, who is perhaps the standout of the group. It offers a surprisingly thoughtful analysis of growing up, of leaving the comfortable bubble in which you were the centre and heading out into the open where you’re just one of many. There’s talk of mysticism, philosophy, and the relentlessness of their inherent competitive nature, and everything straddles the knife-edge of violence naturally present when a large group of similar boys are thrust together. The jokes edge too far, weirdness and desperation oscillate between being admirable traits and points of ridicule, and the house becomes a microcosm for the balance of being teammates and individuals.

But it is genuinely funny, and it’s in the exploration of those dynamics where Everybody Wants Some!! finds its charm. The film is populated by a host of familiar faces, with Wyatt Russell (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), Tyler Hoechlin (Road To Perdition) and Zoey Deutch (The Outfit) to name a few, and it feels like a really authentic group. It positions Jenner’s Jake as the lead, navigating a world that’s new to him but perhaps familiar to the audience, but it feels very much like an ensemble piece for the majority of its run time.

It’s easy going and fun, with the burgeoning sweet romance between Jake and Deutch’s Beverly providing a refreshing break from the machismo in the third act, and doesn’t really want to delve into anything too deep or complex. It’s all about the good times, man. The length does feel a little indulgent, and it just about hits the limit of straight-white-male posturing, but it feels like Linklater understands the importance of keeping the group one that audiences will want to spend time with.

Everybody Wants Some!!: Trailer (Annapurna Pictures)

Everybody Wants Some!! is a film full of naturalistic dialogue, impressively authentic performances, great moustaches, and a whole lot of nostalgia and charm. It’s a film that is content to languish in the lackadaisical and hide its depth in beer cans, testosterone, glorious fashion and a fantastic soundtrack. It’s the college film for the college kids out to have a good time, and the sports film for the guys who are all about the team bonding. It’s an underrated gem in Linklater’s catalogue that teeters on overindulgence, but goes for the home run anyway.

Get it on Apple TV

Everybody Wants Some!! is now available to watch on digital and on demand. Read our review of Linklater’s School of Rock.

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