“Everything Everywhere” tests your senses

Everything Everywhere All at Once (Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis) – This is the weirdest, most bizarre, unique film of the year. That doesn’t mean that it’s a must-see film. It’s Clockwork Orange meets The Matrix meets Parasite, and that doesn’t mean it’s as good as any of those.

As proof, I offer this precise dialogue that serves as the premise of the movie: “When you put everything on a bagel, nothing matters.” The film is the quest to enter the bagel or to stop anyone from entering the bagel. Really!

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a mind-bending, optically spectacular, occasionally funny film from The Dans – Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – two music video empresarios who have turned to film, most notably 2016’s Swiss Army Knife.  I have no idea what drugs they were on when they conceived of this film. The execution is flawless, I think. But that might depend on what they were trying to do: blow my mind, I suppose.

Michelle Yeoh, known best for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, plays Evelyn, the co-owner of a laundromat about to celebrate its anniversary. She has long since abandoned her dream of being a professional singer in favor of being a frustrated wife, a bossy mother, a reverential daughter, and a mediocre businesswoman. Her innocent, bumbling husband, Waymond (2023 Golden Globe winner Ke Huy Quan), seen somersaulting around the laundromat on surveillance video, is about to file for divorce. Her rebellious daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu), is decidedly not joyful, due to mom’s disapproval of seemingly everything, including Joy’s new girlfriend. Her father (veteran James Hong), who she reveres and cares for, started the laundromat and lives above it with the family.

Unfortunately, the business is under IRS audit, led by wicked, chain-smoking Deirdre Beaubeirdre (bananfana Beafeirdre?), played deliciously by Jamie Lee Curtis. Suddenly, in the middle of the audit appointment, all normalcy ends. Waymond takes his glasses off and starts explaining to Evelyn in a more authoritative voice that she holds the key to saving the universe and must follow him into the dangerous multiverse. Apparently, everyone lives multiple lives in alternate universes, and the prospects are not good without Evelyn’s intervention. It is important to return to the alphaverse, where Waymond is from.

Why her? Well … follow me here … she must confront and beat back Jobu Tupaki, who apparently intends to destroy the universe where, as stated previously, nothing matters. We meet Jobu, who is really Joy (in variously bizarre costumes) in an alternate universe.

It’s all so confusing to explain. We see Evelyn in various lives – as a famous singer, as a martial artist, and much more. “You’re capable of anything because you’re so bad at everything,” Waymond tells her.

From here, the movie is all visual effects, CGI, slow motion, motion capture, and martial arts. And yes, there is some touching drama, too, that will keep you confused and uncertain right to the end. For example, will Jobu and Evelyn go into the bagel? Hey, I’m serious here.

Maybe this is all just a COVID fever dream!  With more than $100 million in box office and exceptional critical reviews, this is one of the most hyped films of Oscar season.  If you’re up to 139 minutes of “wow,” this is your film. It’s already available on Showtime, Hulu and elsewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *