Review: Everybody Wants Some!!

Everybody Wants Some!!, Richard Linklater's "spiritual sequel" to his 1993 hit Dazed and Confused tackles eighties college baseball bro-culture with hedonistic glee. Lead by a fine cast of strapping young stars, Linklater has craft yet another breezy and effervescent watch  proving that he is very much on a roll of late.

The 1980s set Everybody Wants Some!! follows freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) arriving at a Texas college as part of a baseball scholarship where he is welcomed into his team fraternity with bromatic delight. His teammates open his eyes to the perks of college life from discos to wild parties - as well as the mechanics of fraternal brotherhood. 

Linklater's style does not make too many deviations from his light, observational approach that made the likes of Boyhood and the Before series such critical hits. Even when observing something less delicate than blossoming romance or the cycle of adolescence - like here, charmingly boorish frat culture, Linklater manages to capture these tangents of human experience with an immersive yet unforced eye. From Jake meeting his teammates and the subsequent bonding to the drama of a night at the disco club, Everybody Wants Some!! makes the normal vivid and engrossing whilst managing to warm us with a blissful nostalgia.

Linklater's narrative manages to tap into a youthful optimism and the setting of eighties college excess makes for a apt canvas. These college freshman have the whole world at their fingertips - talented, attractive, young and fit. In their minds, they're Greek gods. Despite this jockish confidence, Linklater's characters are likeable bros approaching the world with a harmless glee - overgrown kids grabbing handfuls from life's candy store with the struggles of its journey yet to rear their head. 

Of course this nostalgia is rooted in Everybody Wants Some's classic rock soundtrack and heavy featuring of vinyl - Jake's protection over his vinyl records is a fun gag that is likely to relate to every music lover. Featuring The Knack, Blondie, The Sugarhill Gang, Jermaine Jackson and of course, the titular Van Halen track, the music choices here truly immerse us in the eighties period with a non-kitschy nostalgia and help the film's feel-good atmosphere to soar. This eighties spirit is channelled in everything from the vehicles on display to the very short shorts and facial hair choices of the film's ensemble of hunks. 

Praise should go to Linklater's army of studs - lead with warm optimism from Blake Jenner. Jenner's Jake is a wide-eyed charmer embracing new-found college life with a buzzing feel-good energy. Within the central baseball team there is an eclectic bunch of instantly-adorable supporting characters, none more so than Glen Powell's standout Finnegan - our adaptable guide navigating through college cliques with one womanizing goal in sight. Powell packs the role with a wired charisma and fast-talking energy stealing every scene he's in. Ryan Guzman and Tyler Hoechlin make lasting impressions as two older teammates putting the freshmen through their paces and bringing some bad-boy energy and homoerotic charisma to the fold.

Everybody Wants Some!! will have you grinning from ear to ear. Light but brimming with a feel-good buzz and cheerily nostalgic aesthetic, Linklater has crafted yet another joyous piece of cinema.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Blake Jenner, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin & Glen Powell
Release: 13th May 2016 

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