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Everything Everywhere All at Once


If you’ve been looking for something different, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is an in-your-face blast of originality, loaded with wall-to-wall psychedelic trips of fancy and laugh-out-loud humor.

Adult, smart and unwieldy, it’s probably the craziest big screen trip I’ve seen since John Boorman’s “Zardoz” way back in 1974.

But this is a much better film than that Sean Connery sci-fi mess.

Michelle Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang, an overworked owner of a laundromat whose world is spinning out of control. Her husband Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan in his big screen return from his famous roles in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies”) is ready to serve divorce papers. Her father Gong Gong (the legendary James Hong of “Gremlins” and “Big Trouble in Little China”) is old fashioned and demanding. Her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) wants to introduce her American girlfriend to the family at a party that evening.

On top of all that family drama, their Laundromat is under a serious IRS investigation by the frumpy, overly aggressive agent Deirdre Beaubeirdre, played by Jamie Lee Curtis in a horrifying wig and fat suit that renders her one of those people in the “Shoppers of Wal-Mart” calendar.

Just when everything comes to a boil, Evelyn is approached Matrix-like and told that she’s the only hope not only for our universe, but for a cascading multitude of other multiverses spinning off from her own.

She begins popping into those other universes at random, spinning the film off into a million different direction, all depicting lives that Evelyn could have led if she made different life decisions. Some of them hilarious, some violent, each is stranger than the last.

One of them includes Evelyn being Michelle Yeoh at the premiere for “Crazy Rich Asians”. Another features a universe where everyone has hot dogs for fingers. YOU try opening doors with hot dog fingers!

It’s all very meta and over-the-top in such a self-assured way that I loved the ride. Directors “The Daniels” Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have a lot of fun, visually assaulting you with a ton of humor, much of it R-rated. Almost every joke lands.

Hsu’s Joy emerges as the evil entity in other worlds and Hsu nails every scene. I had no idea what she would do next. She’s fantastic as the off-kilter center of every spinning universe, including the one in danger of being sucked into a giant bagel black hole.

In one universe where life never developed, Evelyn and Joy are both rocks, talking to each other with captions that are as funny as they are unexpected.

Another world is a guffaw-worthy homage to Disney with “Raccacoonie” taking over for that rat chef. Harry Shum Jr is flawless as the young chef with the helpful animal. Let’s just say it’s a lot harder to hide a raccoon under your chef’s hat than a rat. Hilariously so.

Every bit of the visual effects was done by a crew of 9, including the directors. That’s astonishing if you’ve ever seen the VFX credits at the end of an Avengers movie, listing thousands of people for five minutes on a scrolling credit. The visuals here are imaginative and soar through every imaginable style.

Flat-out bonkers and not for you if you like linear storytelling, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE made me laugh a lot and surprised me more than once. The amount of original creativity on display slaps you in the face with hot dog fingers and several other floppy appendages.

Look out! This madness demands an A+.

I can’t wait to see what The Daniels do next.

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