Experience the absurd, profound of ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

Is it too soon to call it my favorite movie of 2022? I don’t think so.

Brad Keefe
"Everything Everywhere All at Once"

I’ve been a professional film critic for a long time now. One thing I think I understand better than a lot of critics? This gig is subjective as hell. 

What I like? You might not. What you like? I might not. It’s all cool. I don’t know you, but I know me, and I try to keep that in mind at all times when I’m writing about movies.

That also gives me pause sometimes in recommending a movie too strongly. What if I say a movie is great and you hate it? Will you hate me? Will you never trust my opinion again?

But I know me, and I know what I like (maybe a little too instinctively, but I’m usually not wrong about me). Sometimes I see a movie really early in the year and say, yeah, that’s probably gonna be my favorite movie this year, and I have a lot of movies left.

So, I’m just going to throw this out, and we’ll see if I’m wrong, but “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is going to be my favorite movie of 2022, and it’s only April.

In fairness, I am a bit more primed for this, having named the first movie from writers-directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known and credited as Daniels) my top movie of 2016. That would be the surrealist comedy-drama “Swiss Army Man,” which is about a farting corpse. I stand by this.

What they did next is something beyond what I could have imagined, and the film industry should continue to give artists long leashes and decent budgets to make whatever their crazy hearts desire.

My usual caveats remain, and if you trust me, know as little about this movie as you can and just go see it. If you need more, read on, because you know I won’t spoil anything.

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“Everything Everywhere” centers on Evelyn Wang (a brilliant-in-every-way performance by Michelle Yeoh), She runs a family-owned laundromat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), cares for family patriarch Gong Gong (James Hong) and has a strained but loving relationship with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

The family business is also facing tax issues and an overzealous IRS agent (Jamie Lee Curtis). And in the midst of this everyday crisis, Evelyn must also deal with the possibility that she’s also a key figure in holding together the multiverse.

I really can’t describe what a delightful genre-bending movie Daniels have created for their sophomore effort. Can something this crowd-pleasing also be deep? Can you be along for a wacky ride and also be moved to actual tears?

I know I was, but I can only speak for me.

If I’m overselling it, so be it, but “Everything Everywhere” takes the combination of utterly absurd silliness and sneaky profundity of the human condition that made me love “Swiss Army Man” and ratchets it up exponentially.

If you aren’t in the mood for profound, I can also just say that “Everything Everywhere” is unabashedly and endlessly fun. I complain about movie run times all the time in the space. This two hours and 12 minutes flew by, and I immediately wanted another ride (and will likely be seeing it a few times).

It’s got all the ridiculous fight-scene action and heady play of parallel universes you’d hope for from Marvel or The Matrix, but without taking it all so seriously.

Which is not to say that it doesn’t have anything to say. Again, I cried honestly a bit more than I should be comfortable with in public. I wasn’t ready for where this movie goes, but I was here for it all.

Yep, it’s subjective, and I think maybe I’m especially primed for this combination of saying something profound and casing it in something that seems so silly because one of my favorite authors is Douglas Adams. If anyone should get another shot at adapting “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” to the big screen, it’s these two, though I’m far more interested in what original work they have ahead.

There’s just something amazing about filmmaking that’s so unafraid, so aware of entertaining an audience at every turn but not being scared to get so weird you might lose them and have to earn them back.

If this has all been rather obnoxiously vague as a review, that’s also intentional. You might not get as much joy as I did from this movie, but I don’t want to rob you of a moment of it.

Just go see it. Buy the ticket. Take the ride.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Now playing in theaters

5 stars out of 5