Everybody Wants Some!! is a solid entry from Richard Linklater that is propped up by a couple of compelling performances, but it rarely finds the heights we know the director can hit.
Following a freshman pitcher, Jake, as he arrives onto his new campus and meets his teammates in the lead up to his first class, Everybody Wants Some!! is a hang movie that Linklater has labeled as a spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused. The veterans of the group initiate the new guys into the ways of the baseball team, inform them of their status on campus and basically chase tail all across town, party to party.
Everybody Wants Some!! is coming from a far more male perspective than Linklater’s earlier hang film, but it gives us a range of personalities to try to connect to; with the one female voice we get to know being quite compelling as well. We tour all the different college scenes of 1980’s Austin (discos, punk shows, country bars and art parties) as we watch this group of guys banter and bust each others’ balls over their hits and misses with the ladies. When they aren’t drinking at a party the team is drinking at their college assigned houses and competing in a variety of games trying to one up one another. Both elements have their high points, but can also play quite matter of fact, not really giving us a whole other than a recreation of the time.
I don’t know what could have helped elevate the film, but the lack of compelling characters is probably the biggest issue. Most of the players are good for a laugh here and there, but there isn’t anyone you would really want to hang out with in this movie. I found myself laughing at, not with, most of the guys in this film. Also, something felt wrong about one particularly gratuitous shot early in the film and I never really could get behind the horndog nature of the guys; let’s just say it is safe to say that Linklater is a butt man.
The film’s energy slowly lets out over the course of the film, never deflating, but it never really hits the highs of the first day/night of Jake’s college career, except probably when Finn opens his mouth. Glen Powell plays Finn, an intelligent, good looking and smooth talking veteran of the squad, and he is the find of this film. The guy is just full of charisma and is the most interesting character in the script. He gets all the best lines, isn’t a d-bag (mostly) and is by far the most interesting personality on the team. Powell perfectly plays Finn as the guy you want to hang out with. Blake Jenner is good as the film’s lead, Jake, but I almost wish we got to see more of Finn. Speaking of Jenner, he crafts another non-broy character in Jake, but does feel a little too old for his supposed freshman status. Still, he is likable and carries the film along with Powell. Linklater seems to know these two are the way to go too, as they quickly become the focus for most of the film’s best bits. Tyler Hoechlin is also pretty good when it comes to the guys, playing their star hitter, but he isn’t given enough screen time to really flesh his character out. The other bright spot of the cast Zoey Deutch, who plays a potential love interest for Jake. She feels so real and sweet, you totally buy why Jake is ready to ditch the chasing and settle, as Deutch makes the most out of some very limited screen time. She brings a lot of depth to that performance with its authenticity.
I enjoyed myself throughout Everybody Wants Some!!, but the film never really took off for me beyond being pretty good. Powell is a blast to watch, but there isn’t enough around him to make this something really special. Still, the film is a pretty genuine look at college party life, not filled with stereotypes and arbitrary villains. Everyone, and everything, is pretty chill in Everybody Wants Some!!, if only more of the guys were guys you’d want to hang with.