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“Everybody Wants Some!!,” Richard Linklater’s comedy about a college baseball team on the first weekend of school in 1980, has a gentle spirit and a warm heart, even as it deals with a band of bros looking to get drunk and score chicks. Imagine “Porky’s” as an intelligent character study and you’re on the right path.

The film is Linklater’s “spiritual sequel” to “Dazed and Confused,” and it recreates the vibe of its period the same way the director did with the ’70s in “Dazed.” But Linklater has grown considerably as a writer and director since his 1993 breakthrough, and “Everybody Wants Some!!” has elements of “Waking Life’s” free associative conversations-as-dialogue and “Boyhood’s” small-moments-as-big-moments approach to storytelling in its DNA. It’s a film where nothing much goes down, but a lot happens.

The cast of relative unknowns, including Blake Jenner’s Jake and Glen Powell’s Finnegan, are jocks who are not defined by their jockiness. The film looks at how young people, particularly college students, find themselves by identifying with certain musical tastes and clothing styles, but shows those scenes aren’t separated by much more than a choice of wardrobe and an attitude.

“Everybody Wants Some!!” is a snapshot of a time where America was in its disco hangover, and Linklater evokes the period with a killer pop soundtrack (including Blondie, Devo and more).

After the lengthy, lofty experiment that was “Boyhood,” there was a question of what Linklater would do to follow it. He’s answered by returning to his roots and playing the music of his heart, which is as fun and free-spirited as an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo.

agraham@detroitnews.com

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‘Everybody Wants Some!!’

GRADE: A-

Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity

Running time: 116 minutes

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