Every­body Wants Some!!

Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS - Out

MAY 13

15 117 MINS. DI­REC­TOR richard Lin­klater CAST Blake Jen­ner, Glen Pow­ell, tyler Hoech­lin, Zoey deutch, tem­ple Baker

Au­gust, 1980. Baseball pitcher Jake (Jen­ner) ar­rives at his Texan col­lege and spends the few days be­fore classes be­gin bond­ing with his new team­mates. One: no al­co­hol in their houses. Two: no girls in the up­stairs bed­rooms. It doesn’t take long for both to be bro­ken. And bro­ken in style.

Start­ing three days and 15 hours be­fore class starts (as a handy on­screen sub­ti­tle tells us) at the fic­tional South­east Texas State col­lege, Every­body Wants Some!! (named af­ter a Van Halen song, in­clud­ing the dou­ble ex­cla­ma­tion marks) fol­lows fresh­man Jake (Blake Jen­ner) as he moves into the team houses, meets his team­mates and at­tempts to set­tle into col­lege life. And the best way to do this? Be­fore he can even un­pack, three of the re­turn­ing play­ers take him and an­other fresh­man out drink­ing. It’s time for some good ol’ male bond­ing.

His in­tro­duc­tion to his team and house­mates serves as ours and it’s han­dled ex­pertly — no-one fades into the en­sem­ble. Finn (Glen Pow­ell) is a charis­matic ladies’ man, Willoughby (Wy­att Rus­sell) is a laid­back stoner, Brumley (Tan­ner Kalina) is an en­thu­si­as­tic but slightly dim fresh­man. We’ll leave it at three, but could eas­ily con­tinue.

Af­ter this first drink­ing ses­sion, not much changes — the group go out to the lo­cal disco, host a raucous house party, then spend the next day hang­ing around un­til it’s time to go out again. As with its (spir­i­tual) pre­de­ces­sor, in­tri­cate plot­ting isn’t high on Lin­klater’s agenda. In­stead the film fo­cuses on the char­ac­ters and ca­ma­raderie within the group as ev­ery­one jos­tles for po­si­tion. Al­though that hi­er­ar­chy is ever-chang­ing, as Finn points out to Jake af­ter he’s been the vic­tim of one par­tic­u­lar prank: “We all take turns be­ing chumps around here. You ac­cept your chumpi­fi­ca­tion, you wear it well and you pass it on.”

Where this de­vi­ates from the Dazed And Con­fused for­mula is with the gen­der make-up of the group Lin­klater chooses to fo­cus on: 12 char­ac­ters, all guys. The women in the film are pe­riph­eral — po­ten­tial con­quests who ei­ther re­spond to the group’s ad­vances, or put them solidly in their place. It’s not that they’re por­trayed poorly, just that it’s not their story. The one we do spend ex­tended time with is Bev­erly (Zoey Deutch), Jake’s love interest, but only when the two of them are to­gether.

To criticise this purely based on its male-to-fe­male ra­tio would be akin to complaining Sex And The City spent too much time with the women and not enough episodes try­ing to see ev­ery­thing from Ai­dan’s per­spec­tive, but it does af­fect the tone — you’re ef­fec­tively hang­ing out with 12 col­legeaged guys for two hours. On the sur­face, this could sound like a turn-off, but amid all the testos­terone-fu­elled blus­ter and (of­ten mis­placed) bravado are sweetly funny mo­ments where the film finds its heart. And by the time the first class of the year starts and the cred­its roll, you’ll wish your time with them hadn’t been so fleet­ing. JONATHAN PILE

A per­fectly pitched blast of nos­tal­gia, which will trans­port you to that time in life when the fu­ture stretched be­fore you and any­thing seemed pos­si­ble.

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