EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE – Review by Susan Granger

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Never has there been a more truthful title. In Everything Everywhere All at Once, the filmmakers adhere to the motto that too much is never enough.

Married for many years, demanding Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and henpecked Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan), born and raised in China, own and operate a laundromat in California’s Simi Valley.

They’re currently coping with long-festering marital problems along with a threatening IRS tax audit at which surly Agent Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis) threatens to seize their business and personal assets.

Meanwhile, Evelyn’s judgmental father (James Hong) is visiting from China and their exasperated lesbian daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) wants to bring her girlfriend Becky (Tallie Medel) to their Chinese New Year party.

In the midst of Evelyn’s angst, inexplicably transformed Waymond gives her a set of instructions to enter a chaotic, surreal multiverse, which details the many alternate lives she could have lived.

Instead of leaving China, for example, Evelyn could have become a glamorous kung fu action star – or a knife-wielding hibachi chef.

In further hyper-edited, verse-jumping flights of fancy, harried Evelyn and aggressive Deirdre become lovers, intertwining hotdog-like fingers, squirting mustard and ketchup. Or become boulders perched on a cliff, or pinatas dangling from a tree. In a parallel dimension, Joy becomes Evelyn’s anarchist adversary, Jobu Tupaki, touting the Everything Bagel.

Filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, best known for casting Daniel Radcliffe as a flatulent corpse in the absurdist “Swiss Army Man” (2016), bill themselves simply as the Daniels.

Working with cinematographer Larkin Seiple and production designer Jason Kisvarday, they’ve concocted this new, somewhat incoherent, mind-bending, sci-fi fantasy, pivoting around self-discovery and the existential parent/child bond.

The best parts involve Jamie Lee Curtis’ physical transformation into frumpy Deirdre and iconic Michelle Yeoh’s martial arts skill; stuntman Timothy Eulich coordinated the challenging wirework. But it’s like watching a deftly structured Sliding Doors concept become an action-packed, cacophonous Cloud Atlas.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a fragmented, frenetic 5, playing in theaters.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.