In what is essentially a sequel to his greatest film, 1993’s Dazed and Confused, director Richard Linklater again sketches an ethnography of baseball-playing Texans in the Carter years. With in-coming freshman Jake (Blake Jenner), tall, broad of shoulder and square of jaw, the most all-American Jake there ever was, as our guide to the world surrounding the off-campus housing of the Southeast Texas University baseball team, the film begins hitting every known beat of the college film, taking cues especially from the juvenile romps of the late 70s and early 80s. The first of five days in the film introduces the team and establishes their various personalities and approaches to life, the end goals of which are universally baseball, woman and beer, and not necessarily in that order. Jake affably meets smooth-talking Finnegan (Glen Powell), somewhat dim Plummer (Temple Baker), henpecked farm boy Beuter (Will Brittain) and apparently insane Niles (Juston Street) among a host of other tall, healthy, reasonably handsome, hyper-competetive men. They spend their first night together drinking and dancing at a local disco and hooking up with a steady supply of casually available women. It’s exactly the kind of obnoxious fantasy of college life you’d imagine 18 year old athletes dream about. But rather than spend a whole film indulging this fantasy, Linklater expands and deepens his film, creating a film that is as much a dumb frat comedy as Dazed and Confused is a stoner comedy, which is to say not at all.
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