2016 Certificate: 15

Synopsis

Eternally cool director Richard Linklater's "spiritual sequel" to 1993's slacker hit Dazed and Confused follows a house full of baseball jocks as they spend some quality party time together before the start of the 1980 college year. Over four wonderfully wasted days, freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) bonds with his new teammates over bongs, babes, beer and batting practice... all to some of the finest tracks ever to grace a cassette player. A chilled-out comedy with a warm, nostalgic buzz - if they could bottle Friday night, it'd taste like this.

Director

  • Richard Linklater

Cast

  • Blake Jenner

  • Tyler Hoechlin

  • Ryan Guzman

  • Wyatt Russell

  • Glen Powell

  • Zoey Deutch

  • Juston Street

Review

After taking 12 years to tell his last story of youth - the quietly brilliant Boyhood - Richard Linklater here captures the vibe of a generation in under four days.

And what happy days they are, spent in the company of a fraternity of college baseball dudes whose sole aim is to squeeze every drop of fun out of their first weekend together before the new term begins.

Plot-wise, there's nothing to tell. Freshman pitcher Jake (Glee's Jenner) simply rocks up to the house he'll be sharing with his teammates and, with introductions and coach's house rules out of the way (no alcohol; no girls upstairs), the party begins.

Just don't expect a return to Animal House. With the exception of Juston Street's pumped-up fruit loop Jay, Linklater creates a bunch of credible characters each offering a subtly different brand of maleness and/or machismo. This is a writer who deals in types, not stereotypes. As a result, the vibe is often so laid-back it's horizontal.

There are few actual gags; the idea is to put a permanent grin on your face rather than have you rolling in the aisles. As usual, Linklater helps his cause no end with a soundtrack offering the era's choicest cuts of punk, cheese and disco.

You might quibble that most of the actors look closer to 30 than 20. That's because they are. But while you might recognise Wyatt ' son of Kurt' Russell, TV's Teen Wolf Tyler Hoechlin and Walking Dead villain Austin Amelio, the relative unfamiliarity of the cast leaves the characters free of expectation.

Being a film about brotherhood, female characters do tend to, erm, take a back seat. But the sexual mood accurately reflects the easy-come, easy-go attitude of the pre-AIDS era. And, as exemplified by Zoey Deutch as the arts student who catches Jake's eye, the girls give as good as they get.

Brimming with optimism and joie de vivre, this is a thoroughly engaging celebration of young bucks in their prime.

So put on your party shirt, grab a brew, and waste some precious time.

Elliott Noble