A car packed with college baseball players rolls through a Texas town, its passengers shamelessly trolling for dates. “My Sharona” by The Knack plays in the background as these handsome jocks trade dirty verbal barbs, try out pickup lines, and make mischief in their dilapidated frat house. As such, Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! should be a headache, an unnecessary rehash of the ribald college comedy. It’s just the opposite: a delightfully shaggy odyssey through the half-baked thoughts and desires of an amiable gaggle of bros. It wins you over without ever seeming to try, like a goofy joke you can’t help but smile at, and the result is a comedy that deserves its place in Linklater’s pantheon alongside his 1993 cult masterpiece Dazed and Confused.
For a film that isn’t about much in particular, Everybody Wants Some!! is surprisingly plotty, getting its hefty ensemble into plenty of minor scrapes over a weekend as they prepare for another year of college. The 1980-set film, loosely inspired by Linklater’s own brief career as a college baseball player, follows Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman pitcher settling in with his new team and navigating the hazing rituals, preening rivals, and general pile-up of burgeoning masculinity therein. But Linklater doesn’t seek to explode anything into teen melodrama, or deliver some satisfying arc of personal growth and development. His heroes spend the film bantering about matters big and small, dancing to an eclectic soundtrack, and generally having a good time. Audiences are almost guaranteed to do the same.