“Bill & Ted Face the Music”- Movie Review

Believe it or not, it takes brains to make stupid funny. Brains and a good amount of talent. It’s easy to write dumb characters and dumb stories. But if you really want them to work, to be good, you have to be clever about how you showcase the idiocy. Take the Bill & Ted Face the Music as an example of how to do it right.

Thirty years have passed since Bill Preston’s (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan’s (Keanu Reeves) time-travelling days. Once prophesied to write the song that would unite the entire world, the Wyld Stallyns are now middle-aged fathers stuck playing underwhelming gigs and attending couple’s therapy. A blast from the past shows up in the form of Kelly (Kristen Schaal), who tells them they have until 7:17pm that night to write a world-unifying song. With very little time to lose, Bill and Ted decide the easiest way to get this done is to travel to the future and steal the finished song from their future selves. Combined with the help from their teenage daughters (played by Samara Weaving and Bridgette Lundy-Paine), these bodacious pals just might be able to save not only the world, but the very fabric of reality.

A lot of movies nowadays tend to relish in darkness. They seem to go out of their way to be gritty and grounded, and to highlight the many sorrows life has to offer. While that’s all fine and dandy, it’s good to indulge in some fluff every now and then. Bill & Ted Face the Music is just the kind of sweet, optimistic fluff we need right now. The plot is ridiculous, for sure, and on a technical level, it’s pretty standard. Dean Parisot’s direction is decent enough, as is the cinematography. The film’s rules for time travel are flimsy at best. At its worst, it can get a little too convenient. Regardless, the film embraces its ridiculous nature and unwavering optimism. It has an infectious charm that never feels manufactured or manipulative. It radiates naturally through every facet of the film, and at its core are the Stallyns themselves.

two woman and man stand in the middle of a cul-de-sac
Courtesy of Orion PIctures via Facebook

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winters are the main reasons why this movie works. The script could’ve sucked, the directing could’ve been weak, the editing could’ve been choppy. Even worse, the music could’ve garbage. No matter the hiccup, the most important rule of any continuing series, especially ones with considerably side time gaps, is to keep the central characters intact. They need to feel like the same people they were before. Reeves and Winters transition back into their roles pretty smoothly. They’re the same dunderheads they were in ’89 and ’91, just older, more seasoned, yet none the wiser. This time around we’re given a double dose of Bill’s and Ted’s likeness in the form of their daughters, Billie (Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Weaving). Both actresses are good in their roles. They’re basically doing impressions of Reeves’s and Winters’s characters, but they’re solid impressions, and their chemistry and charm are on par with those of their fictional fathers. Honestly, their storyline is the best part of the movie in my opinion, as it involves them jumping to various time periods to collect history’s most iconic musicians and those historical figures interacting with one another.

What surprised me the most was the comedy. Sounds weird, I know, but to tell you the truth, I have a hard time laughing out loud at comedy movies when I’m not seeing it in the theater. Even if I think the movie is legit funny, the chuckles can’t seem to find their way out. This film is one of the few exceptions. The comedy didn’t have me rolling, but it did manage to elicit a few good laughs out of me. Even the jokes that don’t land still put a smile on my face. It’s a testament to how cleverly they’re written. The humor obviously comes from how not bright the main characters are, yet it never demeans them. We don’t laugh at their expense. The laughs stem from their naivete, from how they decided to navigate this type of scenario.

Bill & Ted Face the Music succeeds in doing what it sets out to do- make you laugh, and give you a taste of optimism. Objectively speaking, there isn’t anything particularly exceptional or underwhelming about it. Honestly, the film could’ve been a disaster, considering other terrible sequels that have been made decades after their predecessors- looking at you Zoolander 2. So the fact that it wound up being good at all is an accomplishment in and of itself. If you happen to catch it on one of the many streaming services, check it out. You’re sure to have a good time, regardless of if you’re a Bill & Ted fan or not. Just sit back and enjoy the music.

Cosmic Grade: 3.5/5 Stars

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