Van Redin / © Paramount Pictures /courtesy Everett Collection
Glynis Costin
Apr 05, 2016 @ 3:15 pm

I can’t remember the last time I smiled through an entire film. But my mouth almost hurt after watching Richard Linklater’s feel-good romp Everybody Wants Some!!, which the director refers to as a “spiritual sequel” of sorts to his 1993 classic, Dazed and Confused.

I also nodded along to such vintage classics as "My Sharona,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” "Let The Good Times Roll,” “Whip It,” and more, as did everyone else in the theater.

Going into the Los Angeles screening at Creative Artists Agency with director Richard Linklater and several cast members, I braced myself for a raucous testosterone-laden comedy a la Animal House, but this film is more a coming of age bromance, much like Dazed.

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Sure, there are some raunchy moments—half naked girls mud wrestling at a party—and you can practically smell the sweat, stale beer, and dirty socks in the rambling house shared by the protagonists, a motley crew of baseball players at a fictional Texas college. And yes, it’s sexist. Girls are to be conquered and bragged about. But what do you expect? It’s the late 1980s and the hormones rage, the beer flows, and pot wafts through the halls of the rambling house where the guys wait for classes and practice to start—all unsupervised.

Other than a side romance between Jake (Blake Jenner), a cute and eager freshman pitcher and Beverly, a sweet yet sassy budding theater major (Zoey Deutch), the film is truly a bromance. (Besides Beverly, some other female credits read: Sorority Girl #1, Cute Coed #2, Beverly’s Roommate… need I say more?)

Van Redin / © Paramount Pictures /courtesy Everett Collection

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But no matter. This doesn’t purport to be an equal opportunity playing field—this is a true Dude Flick.

There’s the cocky big talker Finnegan (an excellent Glen Powell), the ego-stud McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), the stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), the athletic freak Jay (Juston Street), the lovesick farm boy Beuter (Will Brittain), the ladies' man Dale (J. Quinton Johnson) and more–all sniffing each other out like a pack of dogs trying to form a den and figuring out who the alphas are.

Nothing much really happens over the long weekend; they play ping pong, listen to albums, give each other shit, have knuckle flicking contests, and of course, pick up girls wherever they can (in parking lots, at discos, country western bars, punk concerts, and even an Alice in Wonderland-themed theater geek party). And did I mention that they drink a lot of beer?

But there’s also lots of classic (and also marijuana-induced) Linklater philosophizing. Much of it is done by Powell.

Van Redin / © Paramount Pictures /courtesy Everett Collection

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And the 80’s nostalgia is palpable, from mustaches, sideburns, and shaggy hair to gas guzzling Chevys, tight polyester shirts, cut-off jeans, games of Twister, and crates of LPs. In a pre-AIDS, pre-9/11, pre-cell phone and pre-selfies-at-every-moment world, it all feels downright innocent and somehow authentic.

The adorable Tanner Kalina, who plays freshman naïf Brumley, told me at the after party that Linklater had the guys all live together for three weeks before shooting started so they could bond—and it shows. Much of the dialogue feels ad libbed and they all just look like they are, well, having fun. The audience has it right along with them!

Everybody Wants Some!! is playing now in select theaters and gets a wide release on April 8.

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