A crowd-pleasing, genre-bending adventure that's funny, dizzying, and infinitely memorable, this movie is also a lot. If the screenplays for Kung Fu Hustle, The Matrix, Being John Malkovich, Spaceballs, Kill Bill, and Spider-Man: No Way Home were blended together, the result would approximate this movie. There's much to keep track of, and the filmmakers ingeniously wrap layers and layers onto what sounds like a boring framing story: A 50-something Chinese couple tries to refile their taxes on the same day they throw a party at their laundromat to impress their elderly father/father-in-law. But there's nothing remotely boring or predictable about what happens throughout the day, as Evelyn expands her consciousness through the silliest of tasks to psychically visit other versions of herself based on all the "sliding door" decisions she's made. The cast is all praise-worthy, but particular kudos go to Yeoh, Quan, and Curtis for their joyously watchable performances. Hsu and Hong are also fabulous as the melancholy (and ironically named) Joy and the stubborn Chinese father who each have a complicated relationship with Evelyn.
Speaking of joy, it's best to see this film knowing only that it's worth seeing. While there aren't a lot of huge twists, there's a definite nonsensical and communal energy to it all, and it's ideal to watch it surrounded by laughing, cringing, and even crying moviegoers. One multiverse sight gag worth teasing involves a Ratatouille-like conceit, except the animal is a raccoon, not a rat. That one features Harry Shum Jr. as the Linguini-like chef at a Japanese steakhouse where one of the multi-Evelyns works. It's not only hilarious, but, like the movie, surprisingly touching. Parent-child issues are a major theme, and the story explores heavy topics such as depression, ennui, marital disappointment, and homophobia, but with a heavy dose of levity, googly eyes, and hope.