The first 15-20 minutes of the 2022 movie ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is so chaotic, it’s stressful to watch. And you have too many question going on in your head.
“What the hell is happening?”
“Why is this house crammed with so many things?”
“Do they ever clean up?”
“Who is getting a divorce?!”
Written and directed by the duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who apparently like to be referred to as the ‘Daniels’ and made that absurdly fun film ‘Swiss Army Man’ starring Daniel Radcliffe as a corpse, ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is just as absurd, but crazier in its scope and story. And just like ‘Swiss Army Man’, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.
Going back to the chaotic start… Michelle Yeoh plays protagonist Evelyn Wang who runs a laundromat with husband Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan). The couple is swamped with a mountain of bills and stressed over an impeding audit of their business. So the stressful watching experience is really just capturing the essence of how taxing running a small business is. When the Wang’s finally head to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) office, the daunting experience turns into an epic multiverse adventure. A man takes over Waynond’s mind and tells Evelyn is the only one capable of fighting a super-villain called Jobu Tupaki, who is wreaking havoc across the multiverse.
What follows is an insane series of events, where Evelyn learns to explore and connect to her different versions across the multiverse in-order to fight Jobu Tupaki and her minions. Michelle Yeoh takes fans on an epic ride filled with nostalgia with her killer kung-fu moves and comic-timing. Ke Huy Quan is equally brilliant as her low-key sweet husband, who switches personalities like a God, and constantly reminded me of onscreen action legend Jackie Chan. Stephanie Tsu plays their daughter Joy Fang, who has a fraught relationship with her mom, because Evelyn isn’t wholeheartedly accepting of Joy’s girlfriend. Stephanie Tsu is spunky and riveting in her role, capturing both the melancholia of being a queer Chinese-American and the eccentricity of a someone who’s quite lost their mind. Jamie Lee Curtis was almost unrecognizable in her her cameo as an IRS officer, which is a compliment.
Honestly, despite all the multiverse madness (and oh yes, this one deserves the title ‘Multiverse of Madness’ way more than the actual Doctor Strange film) unfolding, ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is really just about a family fighting their existential dreads and reconciling with each other. If they didn’t have a whole bunch of wacky dildo scenes, it would’ve made for an entertaining watch for a family night. But there’s a generous dollop of sexual innuendos through the runtime, with some weird sloppy scenes, so it’s best watched with friends or partners.
The Daniels had a very small CGI team but the special effects are quite fantastic and outlandish. The rapid scene changes are done seamlessly. A running gag about how one needs to do something ‘weird’ to travel across the multiverse offers a lot of scope for farcical sequences, those actions range between ludicrous and gross. Michelle Yeoh and the entire cast needs a salute for being game to this genre-bending script that’s sprinkled with a whole lot of bizarre. Her chemistry with Ke Huy Quan is spot on and the two have a very poignant heartbreaking scene towards the climax, which dwells into the secret of successful relationships – embracing the ordinary together.
If you enjoyed watching ‘Swiss Army Man’, you’d definitely enjoy watching this, even though they are poles apart, yet would appeal to those with a taste for the eccentric.
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