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Mar 15, 2023
Review: Everything Everywhere All At Once
Review: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Review by: David North-Martino
Everything Everywhere All at Once is an absurdist Science Fiction Comedy-Drama film directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert and stars Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Stephanie Hsu (Shang Chi), Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies), James Hong (Blade Runner), and Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda).
Everything Everywhere All at Once follows Evelyn Quan Wang (Yeoh), a middle-aged Chinese immigrant who is struggling to keep her laundry business afloat and her family together. Evelyn finds she is the only one who can save the multi-verse by gaining power and skills from vastly different versions of herself all living in parallel dimensions.
The Academy has spoken, but did they get it right? Does Everything Everywhere All at Once deserve an Oscar?
First, you could give Michelle Yeoh an old-school phone book to read and she’d give an Oscar-worthy performance. Yeoh is a legend and I discovered her as far back as Yes, Madam (1985) when she starred with Cynthia Rothrock. She has been vastly underutilized in American cinema and is fully capable of being a dramatic actress. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved her genre work, but she has the chops to go further than genre films. Hopefully, her Oscar nod will propel her to the next level.
I love Jamie Lee Curtis. She gives a great performance here. But is it Oscar-worthy? I’m not sure. However, she does do a great job.
Inspirational is the only word I have for Ke Huy Quan who is best known as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Data in The Goonies (1985). He retired from acting for about 20 years before coming back to do this movie—getting the best-supporting actor to boot! Looks like returning to acting was the right decision!
James Hong has been a staple of my movie viewing since at least the 1980s, but he’s been working in film since the 1950s. He’s a character actor who’s been in so many movies he should be more well-known by the general public.
Now, with such a stellar cast, did they decide to make a serious and profound drama? No, they decided to make a goofy absurdist depressing comedy involving the multi-verse.
With great martial arts scenes and even a kung-fu universe, you’d think this would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, Everything Everywhere All at Once plays like a children’s movie with adult themes.
The film is often preachy and pretentious and as dull as two rocks talking to each other. Literarily! See the movie and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The film takes itself too seriously when it should be going for laughs, and goes for laughs when it should be serious. The whole movie is a mess and a slog. The jokes are rarely funny and the whole movie, because of its nihilist underpinnings, is depressing when it should be fun.
Besides some cool sequences and effects on screen, nothing kept my attention. It’s all flash with no substance. Each scene vapider than the next. However, the movie thinks it’s profound.
From my research online, it seems that viewers either love the movie or hate it. Some, like me, just found it very mediocre. Despite its Oscar for best picture, the best I can do is three stars.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is now streaming on Showtime.
Why not just turn this film into a family drama about a mother accepting her daughter and coming to grips with a father who never wanted her? Her traditional dad might even surprise her.
Keeping this science fiction, Evelyn should have had a lot to lose. I don’t want to give spoilers. So, that’s all I’ll say, but I feel her character could have been given a real arc.
Rating: Three out of five stars.