Mon. May 23rd, 2022

Googly eyes, hot dog fingers, and a culinarian raccoon are the ingredients that make up the piping hot Everything Everywhere All at Once. This multiversal sci-fi actioner was cooked to near-perfection by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, the directing duo that previously gave us Swiss Army Man. If you thought the team that made a movie about a man going on an adventure with a flatulent corpse couldn’t outdo themselves, prepare to think again as their newest project offers one of the most incredible cinematic experiences of the decade.

What is this movie? No matter how much I would like to, I cannot put my finger on how this movie works. Right from the opening shot, where the camera enters the reflection of a mirror, you can instantly tell you are entering a film made with impeccable craftsmanship. Enter Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), a middle-aged woman, drowning in business receipts as the laundromat she owns is audited by the IRS. The first half-hour dedicates itself to establishing the characters, with Evelyn’s relationship with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

Kwan and Scheinert take their time setting up many story threads, such as Evelyn considering a divorce and Joy’s lesbian relationship, which Evelyn hastily hides from her father. Once that is done and taken care of, a version of Waymond from an alternate universe speaks to Evelyn, sending her to migrate through a multiverse of madness. Both directors bring their stylish direction and inventive camerawork to a script tailor-made for their talents as they find new and innovative ways to depict fascinating concepts surrounding alternate realities.

When you spend enough time in this field, you watch weird movies. Of course, you can always count on movies like The Lighthouse and Titane to get your oddball fix, but this film is bizarre to an unbelievable scale. The best thing about this movie is how fully committed it is, going the full mile and embracing every bit of the weirdness. One key plot point surrounds Evelyn having to do strange things to unlock new abilities, and this leads to moments so absolutely eye-opening that they’ll have you pinching yourself to assure you’re not in a fever dream.

I mean that in the best way possible too. There is no way a movie like this should have worked on paper. Kwan and Scheinert have made a film where people have giant hot dogs as their fingers and spray each other with mustard. Yet, by some miracle, the audience does not laugh at the film. Instead, they laugh with it given how the directors are very much in on the joke and double down on every bit of their absurd humor. This movie is refreshingly bold in its choices, leading to a kick-ass genre-blend that pays off in volumes.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is very much an absurdist comedy, with hilarious moments of humor. I have never seen two rocks elicit more laughter from an audience than I did while watching this movie. Yeoh displays a surprising amount of comic timing in a film that worked in her favor. This movie is also a martial arts action flick with Yeoh performing more remarkable stunts that will bring a grin to fans of her other action-packed work in Supercop and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She commits to her role and sells her situation perfectly.

Quan is also phenomenal in his long-awaited return to the big screen decades after his 1980s appearances in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies. His charisma has not skipped a beat as he makes you believe it every time his character gets taken over by an alternate version of himself. He is show-stopping, as is Hsu as Evelyn’s daughter, who has a tricky job to pull off, but she ultimately provides some amazing emotional scenes. Jamie Lee Curtis is another legendary actress visibly having so much fun in her role as an IRS inspector across multiple universes.

This movie offers high-concept originality that consistently reinvents itself at every turn. This remarkably creative film boasts slick stuntwork, irreverent comedy, and great uses of color and aspect ratios. But this is not strictly a weird film; there are moments in the final act that genuinely pack an emotional punch, where you realize how much you grew to care about the characters in scenes that feel right out of a Wong Kar-wai film. This is an unapologetically strange film grounded in its ability to make you think about how one choice can change the course of your life.

The multiverse is a fascinating concept. Before we get more of Hollywood’s mainstream look at the idea in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Flash, we must all embrace this endlessly unpredictable film that pulls no punches. The only drawback is Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s large amount of necessary exposition, where it can be challenging to keep track of it all. But when you pay attention as closely as you can, you will be in for this fast-paced ride that offers an utterly fantastic, memorable experience sure to be one hell of a ride no matter which universe you find yourself in.

SCORE: 9/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 9 equates to “Excellent.” Entertainment that reaches this level is at the top of its type. The gold standard that every creator aims to reach.

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