preston’s review published on Letterboxd:
A kind of flipside to Magic Mike XXL, with the same basic problem - protected characters whose inflated idea of themselves isn't really challenged, and may even be seconded - but a much sharper structure and of course the opposite sensibility, these guys viewing women with the eye of a predator (instead of a "healer") and locked in combat with each other (as opposed to mutually supportive). Yet the film is exhilarating, because Linklater commits himself totally to the guys' POV - the early singalong in the car (with the 'new guy' joining in without any hesitation or self-consciousness) shows a kind of exaggerated fantasy version of male bonding, the hip-hop song (like the post-credits rapping) also adding a racial broad-mindedness that Texas jocks may or may not have had in 1980 - yet he also gives them self-awareness, allowing him to subvert that POV without seeming moralistic (in effect, it subverts itself), having the guys frequently worry about "who we really are", comment on themselves ("It's all so damn tribal"), explain their aggression as if observing from a distance, etc. Linklater has a knack for taking stock elements and transforming them with little complications - case in point: the split-screen phone call which totally explodes Doris Day/Rock Hudson cuteness by constantly changing the shot size till it feels downright neurotic - finding un-ironic nobility in these athletes' Sisyphean "striving" while also pointing out that it is, well, Sisyphean (viz. a bit pointless); he also has a knack for slick, pounding rhythms and excellent jokes. tl,dr: "But finding the tangents within the framework - therein lies the artistry, man."