Replay Review: Everybody Wants Some!!
Everybody Wants Some!!, Richard Linklater's likable college-set comedy--and the spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused--might lack much of a plot and discernible character growth, but gets by on the strength of its ensemble cast and nostalgia-steeped atmosphere.
Set in Texas in the 1980s, Everybody Wants Some!! opens with freshman pitcher, Jake, played by Glee's Blake Jenner, showing up prior to his first semester at an unnamed Texas university. Jake is welcomed into the fold by his new teammates, played by young rising and newly established stars like Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, and Wyatt Russell. Zoey Deutch, in a particularly smart casting choice--Deutch is the daughter of actress Lea Thompson--rounds out a stacked ensemble cast as Jake's love interest, theater student Beverly.
The movie follows Jake and his teammates as they acclimate to the college life, meet girls, attend frat parties, go clubbing at discos, and generally have a good time. Baseball actually features very little in the movie, though most of the cast has an athletic background--Guzman and Hoechlin, who was at one point eyeing a professional career, both played at the collegiate level before washing out due to injuries while Juston Street (the brother of former MLB star Huston) played in the minors, and Russell played professional hockey--and they all look and act like real ballplayers.
During the movie's lone baseball sequence, several of the actors show off their form; Russell and Jenner pitch--and look smooth and mechanically solid while doing so--while Hoechlin swings for the fences and shows his freshman teammates the ropes. Even the actors who have no apparent background in the sport look and seem believable in their roles. (In a humorous moment, it's revealed that Russell's character has been kicked off the team; he's actually 30 years old and has been falsifying transcripts, bouncing from school to school, and using aliases so he can keep playing college baseball because he loves the sport that much. Given how much fun these guys are having together, it's understandable.)
It's also fairly obvious that Linklater himself has a background in baseball; indeed, the movie and its characters are based on the filmmaker's experiences playing college baseball at Sam Houston State.
While the movie doesn't have much of a plot to speak of, it also doesn't seem to meander and nothing ever comes off as pointless or a waste of screen time. The characters are what carry the movie, buoying it with their distinctive personalities and the actors' charming, likable performances. Though the guys are often crass and crude, you never end up rooting against them. They seem like old friends you might invite out for a couple beers, or take in a baseball game with.
Everybody Wants Some!! is a movie where nothing much really seems to happen, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a relatively low-stakes, amiable, somewhat meandering comedy that offers its audience a glimpse at a time gone by. And it's all set to a rockin' soundtrack.
If you're looking for an actual plot or more baseball scenes, this might not be the movie for you. If you enjoy taking a metaphorical walk with an old friend and reminiscing about the glory days, Everybody Wants Some!! is worth a watch.