Review: Everybody Wants Some!!!

Blake Jenner stars as a college freshman baseball pitcher, and the film charts the 72 hours in his life before the first day of the first college semester. Zoey Deutch plays the artsy cutie Jenner has a thing for, Tyler Hoechlin and Juston Street play a couple of jerk ball players, and Glen Powell is essentially Jenner’s cocky McConaughey-esque mentor-of-sorts on campus.

Likeable 2016 slice-of-life from Richard Linklater (“Dazed and Confused”, “Boyhood”) is a very easy watch, so long as you’re not expecting much in the way of plot or character depth. That’s not Linklater’s strength really, and it’s definitely not what the writer-director is really concerned with here. Set in 1980 over a 72 hour period before the first day of the college year for a bunch of college baseball players, I’m glad that at least these characters, if not entirely popping out as individuals, are pretty likeable. Hell, even the least likeable ones at least tended to be funny (Juston Street’s arrogant head-case Niles in particular is hilarious). Early on you feel like you’ve stepped into the sorriest excuse for a frat house since “Revenge of the Nerds”, only these guys are jocks and…well, they’re kinda idiots really. I’m talking knuckle-flicking contests until you bleed, idiots. They’re nice idiots, but real stoner/slacker-types (despite being jocks) and not nearly as cool as they think they are. The film’s most joyous moment is a car sing-along to ‘Rapper’s Delight’ of all things, in a film with a title taken from one of two kick-arse Van Halen songs on the soundtrack (The other is the face-melting ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’, whilst P-Funk and ZZ Top are other artists heard).

Although I’m not sporty and certainly not terribly well-versed in American college sports, it’s interesting to me that sport of choice here is baseball and not the usual football or basketball. It’s fairly interesting and realistically presented by Linklater. Aside from the aforementioned Juston Street, Wyatt Russell (and boy does he look like his dad) probably leaves the most lasting impression among the ball players, as the resident stoner and Deadhead, but the best overall performance comes from Glen Powell, who has a lot of charm and charisma. I also felt that J. Quinton Johnson, and especially Zoey Deutch have a certain charisma/screen presence to them too. I really hope to see Deutch (daughter of 80s hottie Lea Thompson, and you can definitely tell) in more in the future. Whatever ‘it’ is, she has it. Lots of it. In what is essentially the lead role, Blake Jenner is just OK, and a lot of the others are pretty interchangeable for me.

The film works for what it is: A snapshot/slice-of-life picture. If not terribly well-defined, the characters are at least likeable and I was never bored. If you enjoy slice-of-life films, you’ll probably like this one even more than I did.

Rating: B-


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