The time is August of 1980, the setting is Texas, and the guys who populate Richard Linklater’s newest film are members of a college baseball team who share living quarters. The newly-arrived freshmen face the challenge of fitting in with this highly disparate group, both off and on the field.
Everybody Wants Some!! draws us in as our nominal hero (Blake Jenner) arrives at school, and meets his new housemates, lugging a crate of precious LPs. Each character he encounters is colorful, well-defined, and perfectly cast. Advertised as a “spiritual sequel” to Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, this film is a genial celebration of hedonism, college drinking, casual sex, hanging out with friends, and breaking down awkward social barriers. It is completely disarming and utterly delightful.
I’m not sure how the filmmaker works with his actors to create such tangible characters, but there is a spark of spontaneity in every scene. It never feels as if anyone is reading memorized dialogue—even when, in some later scenes, they become philosophical and a bit self-serious. That, too, is part of college life.
Linklater also has a gift for casting. Some of the actors are experienced, with solid credentials in film and television (like Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt, and leading lady Zoey Deutch, daughter of Lea Thompson), while others are fairly new. They work together in perfect harmony to create a likable and believable ensemble.
Everybody Wants Some!! is lighthearted entertainment, but like all good comedy it is rooted in truthful observation, which is why it—like Dazed and Confused—may prove to have staying power.