Why the Dazed and Confused sequel needs to be on your to-do list

By Alynda Wheat
March 31, 2016 11:50 AM
Paramount Pictures

One could view Everybody Wants Some!! from an anthropological perspective, given its meticulous study of heterosexual college males in their natural state, circa 1980, often engaged in establishing social hierarchy or the pursuit of mating. Or, you could just go and have a damned good time. I strongly suggest the latter.

Director Richard Linklater’s “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused (’93), Everybody Wants Some!!, is so good-natured and sweet, so confident in its understanding of time and place, so unrelentingly funny, you won’t want to leave.

Blake Jenner stars as Jake, a freshman pitcher at a fictitious Texas college, who moves into the baseball team’s frat house three days before school. The whole roster is already there: gentleman philosopher Finnegan (Glen Powell); cocky hitter McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin); intense “raw dog” Jay (Juston Street); stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell); even-keeled Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), plus a few more on the crew.

Jake and the fellas spend their pre-class time wisely: drinking, partying and trying to find women as sexually liberated as they are. (Worry not: They shall.) While Jake sizes up his new teammates, occasionally fretting over whether or he’ll fit in, he’s also got his eye on a coed named Beverly (Zoey Deutch), who’s just as sharp and funny as he is, with just as many layers. If there’s a problem with this movie – and it’s a big one – it’s that Linklater didn’t release a ladies’ version at the same time. (Should we look for that one next year, man?)

So what’s the secret here? What elevates Everybody from lesser bro comedies? In short, it’s how hard the film works to make it look like it’s not working hard at all. Just as with Dazed and Confused, Linklater (who also wrote the script) knows this crowd. He has an innate understanding, not just of how these people interact, but of the times. Everybody isn’t a comment on how things are now, but a love letter to the way they were then.

In addition, the characters are surprisingly well-rounded, particularly given how many there are; and the setting could not be richer, with cars that look lived in, clothes that haven’t quite left the ’70s, and a soundtrack that will seep into your psyche. Listen, if the drum intro of “My Sharona” doesn’t have you grooving in your seat in the opening scene, get up and go sit in the back. You’re ruining it for everyone else.