The title aptly describes a refreshing action comedy where anything can happen. The filmmakers‘ imagination knows no bounds when an untipped heroine gets entangled in a power game about the multiverse. A fun, strange and chaotic slap in the face to all Marvel spectacles.
The multiverse is, as we now all know thanks to Spider-Man, a myriad of parallel worlds where other versions of us live with small or big differences. A tickling sci-fi concept, about how small choices in life can bring one into completely different paths, is driven to its peak here.
“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is the title of a nicely twisted action comedy that lets Michelle Yeoh jump into parallel worlds and borrow super abilities from tougher versions of herself. (I guess “The Multiverse of Madness” was already busy.) Yeoh, with his ability to be rock hard, emotional, and funny, is a perfect choice to play Evelyn Quan, a stressed middle-aged woman who runs a laundromat, drowns in debts and have difficulty understanding her teenage daughter. As a second-generation immigrant and multitasking mother, she is the most unpredictable film hero imaginable. Which also turns out to be why Evelyn is the right person to confront a big villain from another world, who happens to disturb her meeting at the Swedish Tax Agency.
Is she the chosen one to save the universe? Can she at the same time save the company, patch up the marriage and keep the family together? It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. Fortunately, there is a long line of much smarter and stronger Evelyn copies in other worlds that may be helpful.
The film comes from the directorial Daniels, the guys who gave us the famous Daniel-Radcliffe-like-farting-like-movie “Swiss Army Man” (2016), now longing for their own Marvel-meets-Matrix adventure. For a tenth of the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster, the craziest action scenes you will see this year are created, interspersed with absurd “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” humor. It’s an odd combination and a difficult balance – which probably would have been better if the film was 50 minutes shorter. You know those “Family Guy” jokes that sometimes go on for a little too long? At risk of getting bored? This is how it sometimes feels when Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are allowed to let go of their twisted imagination seemingly without barriers and restrictions.
There is room for hard kung fu and kiss-and-poop humor, existential questions, sausage fingers (!) And everything in between. Not everything will appeal to everyone. A mix of crazy inventions makes the film feel crammed to the breaking point, and I sometimes feel as divided as Michelle Yeoh’s character because here are some brilliant ideas – not always innovative but at least in an original mix – and visually striking scenes mixed with pure nonsense. But entertaining? Absolutely.
The film is chaotic in the best possible way. And you undeniably get a lot of film for your money. After 1.5 hours, when you think it’s time to tie the knot, the fun has barely begun. The first time “The End” appears on the big screen, it’s just the end of the first chapter. It was the very warm-up to an even wilder second act, and it’s just sitting back and enjoying, laughing, wondering, yes all at the same time.
With childlike delight, the directors pepper with larval elements and create their own and unique “John Wick” pastiche where the fate of the universe is governed by bag a bagel? It’s not always easy to keep up with their sci-fi logic, no matter how much different characters try to explain how everything is connected. It’s best to just shut down the brain office and indulge in the madness and above all enjoy a really visual experience.
Among many memorable scenes, Jamie Lee Curtis stands out as a bitter administrator at the Swedish Tax Agency. But it’s an even match with the film’s, to say the least, colorful supervillain, played by bargain Stephanie Hsu, who steals every scene she’s in.