Saturday 4 February 2023

Movie Review: Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

Genre: Fantasy Drama Comedy
Directors: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan
Running Time: 139 minutes

Synopsis: In Los Angeles, Chinese American immigrant Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) is struggling to keep her laundromat business afloat. Her neglected husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) is about to file for divorce, their gay teenaged daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is not feeling any love, and Joy's grandfather (James Wong) is a crusty relic. During a meeting with stern tax officer Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis), Evelyn is thrust into a bizarre multiverse adventure to save the world from an evil presence embodied within an alternative version of Joy.

What Works Well: A madcap adventure mixing sly humour, martial arts, and hopping-between-alternate-universes pseudoscience, Everything Everywhere All At Once is loud, bold, and unapologetic. Writers, directors and co-producer Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert adopt an irreverent throw-everything-at-the-screen attitude, scoring at least as many hits (Evelyn's many talents brought to life in numerous alternative realities) as misses (hot dog fingers? a raccoon on a chef's head?). Michelle Yeoh leads a spirited cast in a display of brazen courage.

What Does Not Work As Well: The running time is quite excessive for the material, and the brawls quickly evolve from fun to repetitive. In a demonstration of more is less, the human messages about love, family, and the challenges of the immigrant experience are reduced to simplistic platitudes by the manic noise, fury, and undisciplined CGI deployment.

Conclusion: Impressive style tramples any attempts at substance.

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