#REVIEW: “EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE”
Review by George Kozera
A major highlight in my illustrious career as a dedicated Moviegoer happened at TIFF in the year 2000 when I saw Director Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, a last-minute choice as I had always found Martial Arts movies cheesy. Not only did I leave the theatre utterly flabbergasted, but the Movie also went on to win four Academy Awards (including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography). It also turned Michelle Yeoh into a worldwide sensation outside her native Asia. I followed her career trajectory religiously where she would add elegance to supporting roles in movies such as “Crazy Rich Asians” and recently in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”. I have been waiting for a role from her that would surpass the greatness of that Ang Lee classic and I am thrilled to say that she has. Finally!
This long preamble is my way to wrap my brain around my stunned reaction after seeing EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE. In my perfect world, all I’d write is “Trust me. It’s brilliant. SEE IT”. But I can’t, so please bare with me as I discombobulate my addled brain cells and convince you to be first in line to see the most original and bombastic movie in decades without any spoilers!
In it, Yeoh plays Evelyn who alongside her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan, who many may remember from “The Goonies”), own and run a laundromat below their apartment. Evelyn is frazzled. Not only is she neck deep in receipts in preparation for an audit the next day with the IRS, she’s organizing a birthday party for her elderly father (James Hong, whose voice you currently can hear in “Turning Red”) all the while coping with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu, so great in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) wanting to bring her girlfriend to the celebrations while ignoring her husband trying to serve her with divorce papers. The establishing scenes crackle with kinetic energy. Then explode.
It took me a good two minutes to realize that the frumpy IRS Agent in a hairdo that could only have been styled by Helen Keller, Deirdre, was played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Proud of her many prominently displayed awards for Excellence in Auditing which resemble Buttplugs (that feature predominantly later in the Movie in a very creative manner), as Deidre rambles on, Waymond slaps some earphones on Evelyn and informs her that only she can save the worlds existing in the multiverse.
We are now in the world of multiverses and alphaverses and different realities and family members turning into deadly adversaries in the blink of an eye. A number of visually dazzling Martial Art fights occur, many utilizing every day common objects – the fight scene with Waymond using a fanny pack as a deadly weapon is alone worth the admission price. We see blood splatters that wind up being only a creative use of organic ketchup. Michelle Yeoh has a field day playing a diverse battery of characters; from a glamorous opera star to a master chef and even herself on the red carpet for “Crazy Rich Asians”.
It’s easy to say that EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is the Marvel film for those to don’t particularly care for Marvel films but it so much more than that. It’s relentlessly laugh-out-loud funny, sweetly sentimental with pulse pounding action sequences. The Cinematography by Larkin Seiple and Costume Design by Shirley Kurata are mind-blowing (remember those names for future reference). Michelle Yeoh’s performance is award-worthy and she is surrounded with astonishing Cast that also include Jenny Slate who uses her lap dog as a weapon and Harry Shum Jr. (TV’s “Glee”) as a chef who can’t cook without a raccoon on top of his head.
I admit that not everyone shares my love of the surreal and absurd and while I gravitate towards films by Jean-Pierre Jeunot (“Amelie”, “Delicatessen”), I will concede that a few may find EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE just too “out there”. While not quite as bizarre as Writers/Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert previous effort where Daniel Radcliffe plays a flatulent corpse in “Swiss Army Man”, how could I not fall in love with a movie where people who have hot dogs for fingers fight that morphs into an interracial Bollywood musical where the dancers eat their partners hot dog fingers as their mouth fill with mustard and end with classic opening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” where, you guessed correctly, the apes have hot dogs for fingers. Whether there are talking rocks (subtitled, of course) in a desert, or an all powerful, all dressed bagel that harkens the Wizard of Oz. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is the most creative and original piece of work I have seen in decades. As I wrote earlier: Trust me. It’s brilliant. See it!
Elevation Pictures release EVERYTTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE in Toronto and Vancouver April 1, 2022 and in other cities April 8, 2022.