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Bill & Ted Face the Music – Movie Review

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Bill & Ted Face the Music – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy VVS Films

There was something strangely endearing about Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its pair of time-traveling slackers. It was not exactly a deep comedy, but that’s fine as it had fun with the central concept of transporting historical figures to the late 1980s. A sequel created a few decades later obviously won’t capture the same feeling, but director Dean Parisot and returning screenwriters Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon give it a game try. Even if not all of the jokes hit, Bill & Ted Face the Music does retain a goofy charm throughout. The addition of their daughters as major characters is an especially smart choice.

There is potential early in showing the pressure that creating a song that will unite humankind can have on our two heroes. The film explores this quite a bit and does well in setting up the stakes when they encounter Rufus’s daughter and her own time machine. It’s also interesting seeing Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter playing these roles again, though Winter comes the closest to feeling like his younger self. Reeves tries to keep up the comedic pace, but his aging is more obvious. Their plotline does feel a tad repetitive as they go forward every five years and continually encounter their future selves.

Most of the movie’s funnier moments come from following Bill and Ted’s daughters Thea and Billie. Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving depict the needed laidback attitude and nicely portray the respect they have for their fathers. The film enjoys giving them the chance to pull off their own time travel adventure and there is a curiousity what musician from the past they will encounter next. Kristen Schaal nicely fills the role of their time travel guide, similar to Rufus in the first two movies. The filmmakers also find a touching way to pay tribute to George Carlin. The return of William Sadler as the Grim Reaper is pleasing to see, even if he’s not given too much to do.

One can tell this is a film made several years after its predecessors and it can be difficult to recapture that magic again. Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey are very much products of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and that curiously adds to their oddball charm. Face the Music feels a bit more generic in its presentation and one can sense the struggle to bring Bill and Ted to the 21st century and show the passage of time. The comedy does feel routine in places, although Matheson and Solomon do understand the importance of not just having them say their catchphrases and perform their air guitars.

Bill & Ted Face the Music does end up being an okay sequel that provides enough laughs and one can see the filmmakers’ love for these characters. This is mostly meant as a fun reunion and fans will be mostly pleased with what they have come up with. It’s a little unusual seeing Keanu Reeves play a role that for years he tried to move on from by doing serious action films, but one does smile seeing him and Alex Winter share the screen together again. It’s a lightweight romp that does a passable job of continuing the message conveyed by the earlier films to “be excellent to each other and party on, dudes.”

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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