Let’s get this out of the way up front. The trailer for Everybody Wants Some!! does not inspire confidence. When I heard that Richard Linklater was planning on making a “spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused,” I was filled with a weird mix of endless excitement and hopeless worry. Recreating the magic of Dazed and Confused seemed like a fool’s errand, so I nervously awaited the trailer. When that arrive, all it did was increase my worry, looking like a generic piece of college comedy. Everybody Wants Some!! is no generic comedy. After having seen the film, I can giddily state that the trailer is all kinds of wrong. In fact, it so doesn’t represent the film that it almost feels like Linklater was trying to dupe us all along.
You didn’t actually want a direct sequel to Dazed and Confused, you just wanted a film that inspired that same kind of honesty and familiarity and that is exactly what Everybody Wants Some!! does.
If you were hoping for a film that referenced Dazed and Confused or included some kind of callbacks, well you’ll be let down. Everybody Wants Some!! is as much a sequel to Dazed and Confused as it is to Boyhood. It is clearly from the same mind behind those films, but functioning in an entirely different place. The fact that Everybody Wants Some!! lives so spectacularly as itself is a gift. You didn’t actually want a direct sequel to Dazed and Confused, you just wanted a film that inspired that same kind of honesty and familiarity and that is exactly what Everybody Wants Some!! does.
Starting upon freshman Jake’s (Blake Jenner) arrival at college, the film doesn’t trifle in long expositional messages. It instead dumps you right in, glossing over much of the awkward silences and forced pre-collegiate discussions that actually plague those first few days. Linklater has always been able to strike that necessary balance between the real and the cinematic. He knows just how much of reality to imbue into his films to make them feel authentic while calling upon the necessaries of brevity that a feature runtime dictates. Jake arrives and is immediately surrounded by friends and for all intents and purposes, so are we.
Few writers are as skilled as Linklater at writing conversational dialogue. The words on the page are why the relationships are genuine. The little asides and gentle mockery that any group of friends is more than familiar with, is what Linklater uses to shade in his backgrounds. They are the little touches that elevate the film past the multitude of college comedies into a different realm entirely. He writes the film as if it were a brainier and more grounded Animal House. The comedy comes from a place of reality and even when said reality is heightened, Linklater does it in a way that rolls off your back. Unlike you’re bombastic Blutos or oddly costumed D-Days you have Willoughby and Nesbit, characters that feel far more authentic.
Writer-director Richard Linklater has delivered another film that offers laughs, fun, and just a soupçon of depth.
As fun as Everybody Wants Some!! is from start to finish, there are some components that aren’t so great. The gaze of the film is entirely masculine and unfortunately this leads to the prop-ification of most of the females. Women are typified as sexual conquests and little else. They are trophies to be won rather than people to be understood. While we are eventually introduced to Zoey Deutch’s Beverly, who is a delightful mix of smarts and charm, it is just too little too late. But Linklater has always struggled somewhat with his depiction of women. Dazed and Confused and Slacker may contain his fairest explorations of the gender outside of the Before series and those are still rather slight. Linklater’s viewpoint has always been male and that doesn’t change with Everybody Wants Some!! which is disappointing yet not entirely unexpected.
Regardless of these miniscule scruples, Everybody Wants Some!! is so much better than it has any right to be. Writer-director Richard Linklater has delivered another film that offers laughs, fun, and just a soupçon of depth. The characters occasionally dally in philosophical musings but such dalliances feel earned and necessary. The majority of the characters, even those afforded limited screen time, are constructed wonderfully with enough character development to make them feel lived in and real when in actuality they can often be somewhat cartoonish. In a film overflowing with so many fun characters, Glen Powell’s Finnegan just may be the best. Like a more intellectual and driven Wooderson, he steals nearly every scene he flits into. And really, that’s more than we could have even asked of the film. Everybody Wants Some!! is not merely a continuation of another property but a wonderfully entertaining film that can stand proudly on its own. Assemble your friends and go see this film, it does not disappoint.
Everybody Wants Some!! is not merely a continuation of another property but a wonderfully entertaining film that can stand proudly on its own. Assemble your friends and go see this film, it does not disappoint.