WARNING: this review will contain a whole load of Richard Linklater loving, and if you ain’t down for that you should move along. Everybody Wants Some!! is the latest work from a man who over the course of thirty years has produced films as diverse as Boyhood and School of Rock. However, in among those vastly different films, there are themes that pop up time after time and the same goes for Everybody Wants Some!! Themes of growing up, love and philosophy that Linklater seems naturally drawn to.
A spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused – the film that first introduced Matthew McConaughey to the world – Everybody Wants Some!! also picks up exactly where Boyhood left off. A young man moving into his college dorm for the first time. In this case, it’s Jake (Blake Jenner) who is moving into an off-campus house alongside the oddballs that make up the college baseball team. There we follow him for the few days leading up to the start of class as he readjusts to his new life.
Which includes a lot of drinking, a lot of drugs and a lot of girls. It may be from the genius mind of Linklater, but this is still essentially a frat comedy. All the touchstones are there. Unlike the likes of Bad Neighbours, however, it is not the whole story but merely part of it; although it does provide a barrel load of entertainment.
The loose feeling script has a lot to do with that. Much like the conversations Jesse and Celine have had while walking around European cities it is sprinkled with philosophy, but here it comes from the almost stoner minds of young men. They are as likely to discuss the genius of approaching girls with the opening gambit of talking about your average size penis as they are to be seen reading Kerouac books and delving into the spiritual. One particular scene huddled round a bong will be all too familiar to anyone who has been in a similar situation.
There are romances and a rough story that permeates the whole thing, but that’s not the point. When this film is at its best is when it’s sitting with a group of people just shooting the shit and drinking beer. While Jake is in many ways quite a bland character, the cast that surrounds him more than make-up for it. From Finnegan (Glen Powell) with his aforementioned average penis and ability to adopt a million different personalities to meet the girls. To Jay (Juston Street) a great pitcher who doesn’t quite know how to talk to the rest of the world and refers to himself as a raw dog. These characters that could so easily be infuriating stereotypes are just great fun to be around, and you want to see more of them.
On top of all that the classic rock soundtrack is quite frankly pitched to perfection and it roots the film so firmly in its 1980 setting that you genuinely believe you are there. Everybody Wants Some!! is just a pleasure to spend time with it. I smiled the whole way through it and even looking back on it now I can’t help but just feel happy that it exists. It is not the revolutionary film that Boyhood was, but it once again proves that when it comes to making films that resonate with their audience, there is no one better than Richard Linklater.