all-together-now-poster-2013Clearly inspired by Richard Linklater’s cult-classic coming-of ager Dazed and Confused (1993), Alexander Mirecki’s feature directorial debut, All Together Now, hardly makes a case for itself as a flattering imitation.  Whereas the former succeeded in drawing connections with its eclectic array of characters, the latter relies heavily upon set pieces of random schticks for intended bouts of collective laughter (of which I was no part).  Lacking general structure or focus with which to develop character or plot arcs, the effort ends up as a loud, gritty mess that has to be cleaned up when the party’s over.

The vague semblance of a plot follows a bunch of twenty-somethings as they carouse at a concert in the middle of the woods.  At the festivities, various interactions lead to violent confrontations, hopeful or confused romantic pursuits, sociological musings, and just general shenanigans.  The night comes to a close with the legendary launching of an anvil into the sky.

While Linklater’s beloved portrait of youth in the ’70s also lacks structure, it benefits from a well-written script that aptly reflects the spirit of the colorful characters and the culture of the times.  All Together Now would benefit from the direction of screenplay more reflective of a specific subgroup or culture, but as it reads now, it’s just reflective of “dumb youth.”  The story and dialogue are dependent on elaborate gimmicks arbitrarily inserted into the plot for the sole sake of laughs, which come too obviously and forcefully.  The sword-wielding disgruntled band mate, the girl who records people in awkward or ordinary situations for her vlog, the famous rich kid who fought with his dad, the alien conspiracy guy, and of course, the anvil-launching finale are part of the disjointed disarray that’s supposed to be humorous and fun.  While most of the dialogue is mostly stupid kid-speak, there are wedged in phrases of profundity that are quickly hallowed out, proving to be frivolous and fleeting.  When one of the characters is explaining to a guy she just met why she thinks Green Peace is full of garbage because they don’t do what they say they’ll do, she sufficiently shallows out with “I also wanna make out with you.”  And the almost socially-aware corporate elite criticism brought upon one of the revelers by another ends up as some more mumbo jumbo with no real relevance to the characters or the non-plot they’re part of.  The characters are written as generic caricatures of aimless, dumb-thrill-seeking youth merely providing the actors an opportunity to overact and be stupid purely for its own sake.  No one stands out as distinct from anyone else in the film or from any other generic high school/college-aged characters who came before them.

With no structure, endearing characters or screenplay, and an overreliance on gimmicky set pieces of adolescent stupidity, All Together Now is a party where the dispersal couldn’t come soon enough.