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Review: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Is Crazy in the Best Possible Ways

ArtsReview: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Is Crazy in the Best Possible Ways

Unlike Valérie Lemercier’s Aline, which was crazy in the worst possible ways, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s Everything Everywhere All at Once is crazy in the best possible ways.

After months of built-up hype and anticipation from fans of Kwan and Scheinert (also known professionally by the Daniels moniker), I can safely confirm the wild, trippy, colorful, out-of-this-world, sci-fi epic lives up to expectations.

One of the most original films to come out this season holds its own with completely original characters played by mostly character actors. Everything Everywhere reminds viewers that with the right minds and teams of people in the cast and crew, anything is possible in cinema.

In modern Simi Valley, 50-something Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is not having a good day. Her elderly father (James Hong) is visiting America after years of ignoring her, Evelyn’s husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), and their daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu). Evelyn and Waymond’s local laundromat is on the verge of being audited, Waymond secretly wants a divorce and Evelyn is in denial that Joy is a lesbian.

Before anything could get any worse, Waymond suddenly hands Evelyn a set of random instructions and a small pair of headphones which—quite literally—rock her world. Jamie Lee Curtis co-stars as the IRS agent scheduled to meet with the Wang family, while Jenny Slate and Harry Shum Jr. appear in amusing roles.

Alternate universes and time travel are very tricky to pull off in fiction, especially parallel multi-universes. But the Daniels totally succeed with Everything Everywhere, and were smart to keep the universes always somewhat relevant to Evelyn’s life or past, even in the craziest scenarios.

Yeoh is perfect lead casting from her action star background to knowing multiple languages to appearing glamorous to being portrayed as both ordinary and extraordinary. Quan, whom most last saw four decades ago in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom (1984) and Richard Donner’s The Goonies (1985), is now back on the big screen in a wonderful way.

Right away we see that Quan’s potential and charm as a child actor weren’t flukes, and he can still carry a scene in his first substantial, grown-up role. And just like Yeoh, Quan shows off his own impressive martial arts choreography training many times in Everything Everywhere.

The Daniels are the same duo who gave us Swiss Army Man (2016), or “the farting corpse movie,” as it’s sometimes referred to, and many bizarrely fascinating music videos, most famously DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What” (2014). With Everything Everywhere, we get their talents spread wide and far.

They’re twice as wacky as the Coen Brothers, but just as accessible to an audience. Besides the impressive special effects, fast editing, absurd humor, unusual twists and wild narrative, we also get one of the most effective and hilarious fake endings in recent memory.

If there’s one thing to slightly pick with Everything Everywhere, it’s that the Daniels—like most talented filmmakers—could trust their editor a little bit more. While still a great screen experience, the pacing and length of the feature could also have easily been tightened by omitting 15-20 minutes.

Nonetheless, it’s one of the most original, entertaining, strangest, unforgettable movies in theaters right now and also turns into a surprisingly touching mother-daughter tale. Definitely see Everything Everywhere All at Once.

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