Review by Sean Boelman
Twenty-nine years after their Bogus Journey (and thirty-one after their Excellent Adventure), lovable slacker duo Bill & Ted are back, and even though the actors that play them may have aged, their charm remains much the same. Offering plenty of the goofy humor that made the original such a fan-favorite cult classic, Bill & Ted Face the Music will be great both for the generation for whom it triggers nostalgia and the younger generation who will be discovering the dudes for the first time.
For better or worse, the story of this entry is a lot more complex than that of its predecessors because it attempts to juggle multiple storylines at the same time. The main one, picking up on a thread introduced in the original film, features the eponymous pair as they travel through time trying to find the song that will unite the world. Honestly, it’s just great to see Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves back in their roles again, so the story doesn’t matter that much.
Surprisingly enough, the more entertaining aspect of the movie follows their daughters (Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine) in what is effectively a more musical rehash of the Excellent Adventure. And while the “passing the torch” trope is an often annoying one for the long-delayed sequel to follow, this one does it in a way that’s both very natural and extremely funny.
The rest of the film’s subplots work to a varying degree of success. One about the dudes trying to learn the meaning of love ties the whole thing together quite well, whereas one about the daughter of Rufus leaves a lot to be desired. There were obviously a lot of ideas as to how to continue and conclude this story, and some of them are more effective than others.
That said, the movie is very funny, largely because everyone in the cast gives it their all. There are some great one-off jokes, including an opening scene that will have most rolling in laughter, but many of the most riotous moments in the film come from some more subtle recurring gags that seem destined to become memes.
The cast is great as expected. Obviously, Winter and Reeves are having a ball getting to go back to the roles that launched them into stardom. Weaving and Lundy-Paine do great impersonations of the two stars while still making it feel their own. And some highlights in the supporting cast include a hilariously deadpan Anthony Carrigan and an absurd cameo from Kid Cudi.
Additionally, the movie looks a lot better than one would expect. With a budget larger than either of the other two films, the filmmakers were able to make better special effects and invest in some more ambitious visual gags. Still, it is able to retain much of the quirky charm that made the first two what they were.
Even though the studio doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of faith in it, Bill & Ted Face the Music is pretty excellent. Sometimes the reward is worth the wait, and in this case, fans will surely be satisfied.
Bill & Ted Face the Music hits theaters and VOD on August 28.