Friday, May 13, 2016

Everybody Wants Some!! ... or ‘Men Behaving Badly’ (QFT 13-26 May)

I feel shallow for even sitting in the cinema to the end of the preview screening of Everybody Wants Some!! (The two exclamation marks are part of the official title, there’s nothing I can do.)

If film reviews had executive summaries, this one would say:
Life’s too short for a 117 minute film about a bunch of college jocks whose minds are as filthy as the puddle of mud one wrestles a female party goer in. The woman wins … which is perhaps the message of the film.

The action begins three days before the start of term when freshman Jake (played by Blake Jenner) and a couple of other new scholarship students arrive at the dilapidated house shared by the baseball team. 1980 culture is laid on thick: it’s the era of pinball, space invaders, and handlebar moustached young men cruising the streets in beat up cars armed only with a set of chat up lines that have less chance of success than putting me into bat at a game.
“Only been at college an hour and I’m already pulling in the groupies.”

The screenplay takes wild swings at pranks and parties, initiation and humiliation, and majors on the competitive personalities that make up the team. But it’s a total strikeout.

There are so many continuity errors between cuts in scenes that it must be a deliberate device. Much like the inclusion of lame dialogue and the clunky way Jake appraises his housemates about the messed up narcissistic, macho culture and confirms out loud what the audience have been thinking since the third minute of the movie.

Unfortunately Jake also dabbles in the very same behaviours he criticises, though his well signposted relationship with the “auburn haired girl” (Beverly played by Zoey Deutch) is finally dropped into the second half of the script and he moves around the bases at a little more leisurely pace than his teammates would. While a fair few women willingly fall under the spell – possibly smell – of the sporty students, a healthy number demonstrate a more discriminating attitude.

There’s very little of merit in this unsophisticated, testosterone-driven Richard Linklater film other than the soundtrack, which rips through disco, country and punk tunes like a Spotify playlist 1980’s jukebox on autoplay. (Get ready to laugh with everyone else in the cinema when a local punk favourite appears sixty minutes into the movie.)

The ending is abrupt – practically mid scene – and long overdue. I wasn’t left with any sense of desire to know what happens next. While Linklater received plaudits for Boyhood, Everybody Wants Some!! deserves none.

If you go and see Everybody Wants Some!! at the Queen’s Film Theatre between 13-26 May leave a comment below and let me know what you thought.

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