Review: ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ (to infinity and beyond)

Their time has come… and so has everyone else’s.

The two Great Ones, Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter) have been beating their heads against the wall trying to write the song that will unite the world since winning the Battle of the Bands twenty-five years ago. Their daughters Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) are all about their dads’ music, but their moms/princesses are distraught seeing the toll destiny has taken upon their husbands. Unfortunately, time is running out as eras are beginning to inexplicably converge (is that new…?) and the only fix is to finally play the decades-elusive tune in the next 77 minutes… if a robot assassin from the future (Anthony Carrigan) doesn’t catch up to them first.

When the comic book-based Men In Black movie came out, it held incredible promise but was stupidly short for a feature film; MiB 2 rehashed the original with little added, but the unasked-for MiB 3 finally lived up to the original promise suggested by its origins and the far-superior animated series. Bill and Ted have had a similar go around, although a second sequel over thirty years in the making seems the longest of shots fueled by pure nostalgia… not to mention taking advantage of the resurgence of Keanu Reeves’ renewed “No, you’re awesome!” popularity. Does “Wyld Stallyns” have one last show still in them?

Face the Music isn’t merely stuffed with callbacks. It does a very rare thing: combining everything that worked throughout its franchise and perfectly reinvents it all. Still resourceful although hilariously counter-intuitive, the Great Ones embark on a self-fulfilling prophecy of discovery while their daughters recap their greatest hits, squeezing every drop of entertainment out of each ridiculously escalating moment. With superior effects, cool cameos, and a renewed emphasis on the music itself, the completion of this trilogy brings everything satisfyingly full-circle. Anyone not a fan of absurd buddy or stoner comedies probably won’t become a convert at this time-travel temple, but if the infectious antics of these two musicians from San Dimas have ever made you smile, you owe it to yourself to discover where they all wind up.

While Weaving was pleasant enough as Bill’s daughter Thea — a supermodel face with a barracuda grin — Lundy-Paine’s Billie creepily mimics Reeves’ Ted to the point of eerie distraction while adding her own unique spin. Anthony Carrigan’s Apple-inspired Terminator ripoff is a scene-stealer in his own right, and it’s always nice to see Sadler’s Grim Reaper getting down with his bad self. With a tribute to George Carlin’s Rufus including an added bit of namesake, Face the Music hits all the high and low notes but knows not to overstay its welcome.

There are two additional recurring players that appear in all three films. They were the candy-striped ice cream men feeding Napoleon, two participants in Missy’s bogus seance, and finally turning up as little devils in the latest installment: writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon getting in on the fun. Far from the only Easter eggs for fans who look and listen, this is a perfect place for these characters to graciously exit the stage… but perhaps not the end for their progeny, if spent dollars upvote another sequel. While a lot of the home releases this summer have been safe family fare, this band’s reunion is resplendently non-non-non-heinous.

Bill and Ted Face the Music is rated PG-13 for some language, we still got it, and I didn’t even know you were called “Dennis.”

Four skull recommendation out of four

2 comments

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