Film Review: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”


  • Starring: Michelle Yoeh,
  • Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
  • Rating: R
  • Running time: 2 hrs 19 mins
  • A24
Nominated in 11 categories at the 95th Academy Awards, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won an impressive seven statues including ones for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. It also received a multitude of other nominations from the growing plethora of award shows that have watered down what the Oscars used to be. Probably to the chagrin of fans and critics everywhere, I am compelled to say that after everything is said and done this film is the most overrated motion picture since “La La Land.” Yes, I know it’s blasphemy to have such a negative opinion of a widely beloved work. Because of that, I am waiting for the villagers to burn me at the stake. However, it would not change my mind if it happened. “Everything,” while certainly creative, is a disjointed mess of ridiculousness with performances lacking emotional potency and charm with all the depth of a shallow pond.
We meet our soon-to-be heroine Evelyn Quan Wang (Michelle Yoeh, “Crazy Rich Asians”) as she is struggling to keep her family laundromat business from closing under the weight of an audit by IRS agent, Deirdre Beaubeirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis, “Halloween”). Her overall unhappiness has infected her marriage to Waymond (Ke Huy Quan, “The Goonie,” “Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom”) who is seeking to divorce his increasingly stern and sour wife. Those latter qualities have been passed down to her from her demanding, traditionalist father, Gong Gong (James Hong, “Kung Fu Panda”). Evelyn’s obsession with her business has made her blind to the depression her only daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) is going through as she views herself as ostracized for being a lesbian.
Just prior to meeting the IRS agent, Evelyn is contacted by Alpha-Waymond, a braver version of her sweet-natured husband who tells her that the fate of the multiverse is at stake, and it rests upon Evelyn’s shoulders to stop an evil version of Joy. Calling herself Jobu, this omnipotent Alpha-Joy could end up destroying the entire multi-verse. To stop her, Evelyn must tap into her potential without going insane after simultaneously seeing all the possible outcomes of her life across the multiverse.
“Everything” is like watching a multi-car pile up and a trainwreck all at the same time. Pacing does not exist. Cohesive storytelling is scant at best. Of course, a common reaction to this could be “duh” because of the story’s chaotic, whiplash nature. However, the emotional connection with the story is as barren as a dry lakebed except for a few minutes at the end. Nor is the action thrilling and it is often just plain silly. Yoeh may have won a Best Actress Oscar, but her work in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was far superior. Curtis is entertaining, but her supporting performance does not reach a level which noticeably elevates the film, as compared to Angela Bassett’s in “Wakanda Forever.” Besides a few moments at the end, an outcome that is predictable from the get-go, the lone shining light of the film is a surprisingly wonderful performance by Quan.
Overall, if you want to be entertained by a story involving a multiverse then go watch a Marvel movie instead.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” receives two stars out of five.

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