FILM OF THE WEEK: Everybody Wants Some!! (15) ****

PA Photo/Entertainment One.
PA Photo/Entertainment One.
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Oscar -nominated writer-director Richard Linklater rekindles a bright flame of nostalgia in this valentine to student life, which exudes the same freewheeling vibe as his seminal 1993 film, Dazed And Confused.

While that picture illuminated growing pains at a 1970s high school, Everybody Wants Some!! zips up its impossibly tight jeans in the autumn of 1980, with a group of hormone-crazed college freshmen and sophomores who hope to make their mark on the baseball field.

The script has no clear narrative direction, ambling through a series of bittersweet vignettes in the days before the characters are due to attend class.

Yet from this loose and seemingly flimsy framework, the filmmaker constructs a vivid and touching portrait of youthful exuberance and fraternal bonding that speaks to all of us who have struggled to find our niche.

Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at college full of hope, as a new pitcher for the Southeast Texas Cherokees baseball team.

He moves into a house which has been set aside for the squad, and meets his cowboy roommate Beuter (Will Brittain).

‘No booze and no girls upstairs,’ stresses the team coach to the new arrivals, who include socially awkward transfer student Jay (Juston Street) and stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), who seems to have dipped his toes in the same gene pool as The Dude from The Big Lebowski.

Older members of the team including Finnegan (Glen Powell), Roper (Ryan Guzman), Dale (J Quinton Johnson) and McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin) take Jake under their wing and on a tour of the local hot spots, where he shakes his groove thing and catches the eye of pretty student Beverly (Zoey Deutch).

As the first day of study beckons, Jake tests his mettle on and off the baseball mound including an unexpected reunion with old schoolmate, Justin (Michael Monsour).

Everybody Wants Some!! is a beautifully crafted blast from the past, blessed with strong performances from fresh-faced rising stars.

Linklater’s writing elegantly interleaves drama, comedy and romance, underscored with a deep affection for the finely sketched characters as they wrestle with their insecurities.

An entertaining sequence sees the cast cruising around in a car, singing to Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang.

‘You start poppin’ your fingers and stompin’ your feet – and movin’ your body while you’re sitting in your seat,’ chant the actors.

We happily oblige.