In his first film since 2014’s Boyhood, Linklater turns his focus to boisterous college students living in an 80s baseball fraternity. They look like adults but they definitely don't act like them. The comedy follows freshman Jake (gamely played by Glee’s Blake Jenner) through his hazing initiation in the days before class starts.
The exact moment when Jake – and the film – loosens up is over a game of pool when a Californian surfer offers up this West Coast maxim: ‘Embrace your inner strangeness.'
Strangeness embraced, the film and its characters are no longer caught up with impressing each other. Jenner’s straight-laced freshmen gets a little whacky, Glen Powell’s alpha jock Finn has a hilarious mid-party breakdown. When its characters figure out how weird they are; they also figure out who they are.
Though it’s a ‘spiritual successor’ to Dazed & Confused, it smacks of Boyhood’s later, teenage scenes and the sweet sentimentality of the Before trilogy. As usual, Linklater’s touch is so light you almost forget he’s there. He works his usual magic with his actors; encouraging their mannerisms so intricately it looks unplanned (when of course it is all meticulously staged).
The soundtrack is an infectious kiss-off to the 80s; Van Halen, Donna Summer and Led Zeppelin keep things moving whenever a frat boy soliloquy threatens to slow the pace.
Two niggles; all that narration from Jenner’s character is a little tedious. Maybe his observations are useful the first time, but we don’t need telling twice. And though the film’s about young people, it forgets women can be young people. For the first hour or so of the film, a snippet of Blondie’s Heart of Glass is the most we hear from a woman (Zoey Deutch is so charming as love interest Beverly that she almost compensates for that imbalance in the second half).
But it all works out in the end because Linklater believes in his characters so much. There’s a touching scene near the end in a river, where Jenner’s character is talking to Deutch’s about his college essay. It sounds corny of course, because it’s a college application letter, but as he likens Sisyphus' struggle to baseball, and you watch a young person find a purpose, it’s also moving as hell.
|What||Everybody Wants Some!! film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
13 May 16 – 01 Sep 16, Event times vary
|Price||£Prices vary by cinema|