‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ – Film Review

Another Richard Linklater film which, like Dazed and Confused and Boyhood before it, breezily tackles the meaning of life

Billing it as a “spiritual sequel” to Richard Linklater’s 1993 last-day-of-school classic Dazed and Confused somewhat misrepresents Everybody Wants Some!! In fact it’s thematically related to plenty of the American director’s work and you could just as easily call it a spiritual continuation of 2014’s Boyhood. That film stopped when its lead character went to college, and it’s where his latest begins. And it’s another Linklater film that, plot-wise, is about very little – although the way it picks at what it means to grow up, it’s also about everything.

In 1980, Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at his new college and specifically the house he’ll be sharing with a bunch of strangers. They, like him, are all on the college baseball team. It’s two days until lessons start and so Jake and the rest of the team spend the weekend sizing each other up and, more than anything, trying to get laid.

The most significant difference from Dazed and Confused is that that film took us along for a ride with weirdos and nerds whereas Everybody Wants Some!! is about the cool kids and cocky jocks. This seems a bad idea. After all, nobody likes the sporty kids – even the other sporty kids don’t like them because they’re competition. But what Linklater does brilliantly is scrape off that veneer of bravado, and find that underneath everyone is the same muddle of insecurities and pretence. Even if you never like them, you at least come to understand them.

Linklater juggles a huge cast, managing to round out the guys and sketch full characters with very few lines. Jokey conversations give away so much of who they are. Unfortunately, the only people who remain anonymous are the women. Aside from Zoey Deutch as a girl Blake moons over, the women remain nameless shapes for the boys to have sex with. You could argue that’s just how these lads see them so the portrayal is appropriate. Then again, you could also argue it’s a cop out.

That aside, however, the film is a beginning-to-end delight and more sophisticated than it appears. It passes in such a breeze of pranks, flirting and shagging it feels like a comedy – yet by the time the credits roll, you’ve witnessed eight dramatic life stories. At the end of this one weekend, those lives are starting again.