Writer-director Richard Linklater makes a sort of companion piece to his breakthrough film Dazed and Confused with mixed results.
This time out, he gives us a crew of young baseball players showing up for college a few days before classes and partying in various settings (disco, honkytonk bar, punk bar) because it’s 1980, and things are all mixed up. The movie is full of bad wigs, bad mustaches, typical song choices (“My Sharona,” “Rapper’s Delight,” “Bad Girls”) and ugly seventies cars.
What it isn’t full of are the type of memorable characters that made Dazed such a delight. Blake Jenner (Glee) plays the film’s main protagonist, Jake, a baseball pitcher who has his eye on an art major (Zoey Deutch). Their little courtship is cute, but most of the movie isn’t as clever as it thinks it is.
The cast of mostly unknowns deliver their lines like they are raining manna from their mouths, but none of it is all that funny or intelligent. For a film about baseball players, it spends very little time on the baseball field, and the ritual this team at the end of practice couldn’t possibly be done without killing somebody. It’s almost like Linklater is trying to make up for his shit remake of The Bad News Bears by giving us a more mature baseball film, but this one feels too scattered. It also feels like Linklater is copying himself rather than addressing a different era with fresh eyes.