The most audacious, bold, and creative movie you’ll see all year, Everything Everywhere All at Once is an explosively entertaining and utterly weird sci-fi action-comedy-family drama that has to be seen to be understood. And seen it should be, even if it just ever-so-slightly overstays its welcome.
Starring Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, the Chinese immigrant owner of a laundromat whose life has not gone at all as planned, Everything Everywhere is about not only saving the world but the universe. Or at least one family. Writing-directing team Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert unleash an unusual blend of genres and tones, a concoction that pulls from everything everywhere including The Matrix and, yes, Ratatouille. There’s a sensual scene involving hot dogs, but no, not the way you’re thinking you pervert, and a long sequence focused on two rocks staring off into the sunset. Who knew two rocks staring off into the sunset could be so funny.
And funny Everything Everywhere is. The movie is absolutely ridiculous at times it’s confounding to see such things on the big screen, yet Kwan and Scheinert deliver every joke and visual gag with such intention and vision the humor at play works exceedingly well. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but you’ll most certainly laugh.
Everything Everywhere has plenty of action, though it’s almost easy to overlook it as an action film due to the craziness at hand. Even still, the movie boasts several well-staged sequences, none of them “outstanding” on their own but perfect in the context of the overall experience. The action also gets weirder and weirder as the story progresses, often for the better.
Special honors go to editor Paul Rogers; the editing is so complex and elaborate and critical to the success of this production, he deserves every praise thrown his way.
Yeoh is fantastic; this is the kind of role that will never get any traditional award play and yet is an incredibly complex and challenging turn that forces the prestigious actress to do a hundred things at once. She is incredible.
Matching her step for step are on-screen husband Ke Huy Quan and on-screen daughter Stephanie Hsu. Quan, best known for his child roles as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies, is perfect (and yes, he still has the high-pitched voice you remember). Hsu, meanwhile, absolutely thrives in one of the strangest, delightfully off kilter characters put to screen in quite some time.
As awesome as Everything Everywhere is in so many ways, its one fault is that the schtick begins to feel long in the tooth toward the end. The story reaches a point where you finally figure out where things are headed, but instead of wrapping up Kwan and Scheinert keep circling the drain, over and over and over, returning to the same gags and running jokes a few too many times. The movie is lean and mean until it isn’t.
Though not perfect, Everything Everywhere All at Once has so much–some would say everything–going for it that it absolutely deserves to be seen on the big screen, with a crowd. Sensationally creative and cinematically bold, this one deserves acclaim. Everywhere. All at once. And over time.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.