Everybody Wants Some
Starring Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, Ryan Guzman, Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell
In his first film since nearly nabbing best picture for Boyhood. Austin, Texas landmark Richard Linklater returns with unofficial sequel to Dazed & Confused. If Dazed & Confused was Linklater’s representation of guys trying to get laid in the 1970’s, Everybody Wants Some is that notion for the 80’s. Boyhood raised the bar a bit on independent and original film-making so this feels like Linklater taking a break from something important, getting back to his roots. “We had so much fun making this,” he said to a packed audience, as the movie opened the 30th Annual SXSW film festival. Linklater is one of the main Texas filmmakers who has helped cultivate the festival into what it has become, so the laughs I heard didn’t feel like an authentic response to what I considered a very mediocre trip to the past.
Jake (Jenner) is the new freshman pitcher for Southeastern State but right off the bat the captain McReynolds (Hoechlin) says they won’t be friends. Jake is a likeable guy, and proves he has luck with the women, when he is singled out in the back of the car, “the quiet guy”, by girls the team are trying to pick up. Its 3 days before college starts, August 1980. While the guys have come from all over the US to play in one of the country’s top baseball teams, their minds are on another kind of ball. The guys try to score by attending disco clubs, the country bar, and even a rock concert. Their semester rituals take the two houses of eight guys through a wild bonding experience that will hopefully translate into a winning season.
A very mediocre trip to the past.
Boyhood inspired and moved audiences across the country, despite being a divisive experience. There has always been something useful to take away from Linklater’s scripts, whether it’s Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy having a long conversation, or a boy’s coming of age story, you gain something. This left me feeling like I wasn’t in on the jokes, or maybe they just weren’t funny. The humor felt only a few levels above American Pie. The guys go from talking about girls on the baseball field, to talking about baseball while playing the field. The alcohol flows, the bong smoke rises, and the stereotypes set in as this genre film is unwilling to offer something non-traditional in the lives of male college students. Everybody Wants Some plays like an episode of That 70’s Show, only a decade longer and at 90 minutes.
Linklater’s script seems intent on covering every stereotype from the geek, to the pot head, to the jock. However, these actors, mostly plucked from their various television series, just play them as charactures. When the first real conversation from the opposite sex occurs, the tone of the film changes to something more intelligent. Zoey Deutch’s character feels like the most authentic person in the script, but after a few scenes, we are thrust right back into the boys den. There is a buried homoerotic tone that’s apparent with the butt slapping and the way the camera sexualizes the men wearing authentic 80’s clothing. Yet the script never explores this beyond throwing in random images.
Hard to imagine this came from the same genius mind of the Boyhood director.