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Everything Everywhere All at Once

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

A Pat-Oh-Meter Review

First off, the title should be modified to say, "Everything Everywhere All at Once Over and Over and Way too Long." Although the run time is only two hours and 19 minutes, the repetitive nature of the film's multiverse, mad-cap action left me wishing the darn thing would end. Sad to say, since Bill and I had looked forward to seeing this one. The performances were great. The multiverse concept intriguing. The fast-paced scenes and elaborate settings were amazing. My gosh, the shooting script must have been 400 pages.

But the point of this film, which is disguised as a sci-fi comedy-adventure with the heroine saving the world, is essentially a dysfunctional family coming together to forgive. Plot-wise, that’s about it, although the filmmakers kept hammering lines like "nothing matters" and "be kind" and "we're all small and stupid" and even displayed the “F” word all by itself on screen for us to treasure.

A mature Michelle Yeoh (did you know she's Malasian?) stars as the overwhelmed Evelyn Wang who’s in tax trouble with IRS, divorce trouble with her long-suffering husband, and relationship trouble with her daughter. Yeoh deserves an Oscar for her exceptional performance as an inefficient woman who discovers her true power to love.

Jamie Lee Curtis camps through the role of a frustrated IRS agent and might take home a trophy for best supporting actress. Stephanie Hsu manages not to mess up her dual roles as Evelyn's lesbian daughter and some sort of evil goddess called Juba. The male actors were all fine in their roles, especially James Hong as Evelyn's nutty father.

But for some reason, other than when Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis were on-screen, I found myself bored with the film’s existential platitudes and truly wanted it to end. Okay, so I at least found the spinning bagel funny. (I won’t explain.) The Academy's Oscar “representation” requisites were fulfilled by having a mostly Asian cast, a female lead, a disabled father, and several gay-girl scenes. You might find it interesting to review the Academy's recent "representation guidelines,” which in my opine are over the top. However, they do explain why you're now seeing so many gay-girl scenes in films. Evidently, the male-dominated film industry pros enjoy watching girls-on-girls a bit more than boys-on-boys. The most disposable scenes were two large rocks in the desert discussing the futility of their existence. Truly: was this "Waiting for Godot" in rock form? I got the feeling those scenes were added in post by someone who thought using rocks was a brilliant idea. Cutting that entire scenario might have reduced the run time by at least 10 minutes. Forgive me for being either too jaded or over-lit-majored or envious of the filmmaker’s amazing ability to put this thing together and probably win an Oscar, but the Pat-Oh-Meter gives this highly rated, highly touted film only 3.5 out of five stars.

Call me old-fashioned, but originality in film should include creativity in what words emanate from the actors' mouths—and especially what emotions those words instill in the audience. A great film should not be an endless melange of bizarre, creative, and entertaining scenes. Even the minimalist dialogue of "2001: A Space Odyssey" had the chilling line, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."

As each segment in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" ended, I kept asking, "Is it over?" And when it finally was, I asked Bill, "Was that it?"

"I think Hollywood has gone bonkers," was his reply.

NOTE: The Hubster and I do our best to see all Academy Award-nominated films. This is our review of one of them.

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