Everybody Wants Some!! (4 stars)

Everybody Wants Some!!

Exuberant comedy from Richard Linklater, that acts as a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused

After the enormous success of Boyhood, Richard Linklater probably had his pick of projects. So what does he do? Go and make a low budget comedy with a no-name cast. It’s typical Linklater, a writer-director who delights in the unexpected. Billed as a ‘spiritual sequel’ to 1993’s Dazed and Confused, his 70s-set last-day-of-high-school masterpiece, Everybody Wants Some!! could just as easily be the follow-up to Boyhood, with that film’s protagonist finishing his epic journey on the cusp of adult life.

Taking place in 1980, the film begins as a group of baseball-playing freshmen arrive the weekend before term starts at a Texas college. Despite the very real prospect of playing the sport professionally – these are not the hopeless hitters of Linklater’s Bad News Bears remake – for now, it’s time to party, chase girls and generally shoot the breeze. If this sounds like it’s the sort of frat boy film we’ve seen a hundred times, from Porky’s to Bad Neighbours, Linklater is seasoned enough to ensure that characters come first.

Leading the line is Jake (Glee star Blake Jenner), a pitcher for the team who acts as our guide through this testosterone-fuelled world. There’s romance brewing, after he sets eyes on drama student Beverly (Zoey Deutch), but that’s just one element of an ensemble story that blossoms the more time we spend with these lovable reprobates (Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman and Wyatt Russell included).

Unlike so many US college-experience movies, Everybody Wants Some!! feels authentic; the parties and the pranks are wild but not out-of-control. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is splendid – everything from disco to country-and-western to, yes, Dire Straits (‘Hand in Hand’ is brilliantly deployed). Some will balk at the macho sexism that runs rife, but Linklater perfectly captures the lust for life that accompanies those early college days. It’s magical.

General release from Fri 13 May.

Everybody Wants Some!!

  • 4 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 1h 56min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Richard Linklater
  • Cast: Zoey Deutch, Austin Amelio, Tyler Hoechlin
  • UK release: 13 May 2016

In 1980 a group of baseball-playing freshmen arrive at a Texas college a weekend before term starts, determined to party, chase girls and shoot the breeze. A low-budget 'spiritual sequel' to 1993's Dazed and Confused, it scores by its authenticity, focus on character and storytelling, and splendid soundtrack. A frat boy…