Bill & Ted Face the Music

Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Orion Pictures
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2020


Movie Review - 'Bill & Ted Face the Music'

by Adam Pavlacka on Aug. 28, 2020 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Once told they'd save the universe during a time-traveling adventure, two would-be rockers from San Dimas, Calif., find themselves as middle-aged dads still trying to crank out a hit song and fulfill their destiny.

Watch Bill & Ted Face the Music

Keanu Reeves may be making headlines for "The Matrix 4" and Cyberpunk 2077 these days, but his big break happened just over three decades ago. "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" introduced the world to the quintessential pair of Gen-X slackers, who were tasked with the epic challenge of passing their history exam. It wasn't high art, but it was plenty of fun, and Bill and Ted became ingrained in pop culture. Two years after the first film, they returned for a sequel that upped the stakes by killing off Bill and Ted, who had to enlist Death's help to rejoin the land of the living and vanquish their foes.

"Bill & Ted Face the Music" picks up 29 years after "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," and time hasn't been kind to our heroes. They're still married to the princesses, and they have kids, but they never fulfilled their destiny to unite the world. Now, the stakes have been upped once again. Unless the guys can create the perfect tune, all of time and space will unravel.

Jumping back into an adventure with Bill and Ted after almost 30 years could have been a rough experience, but Reeves and co-star Alex Winter make the entire thing seamless. These aren't approximations of Bill and Ted that the two actors are trying to remember. Winter and Reeves nail the heart and soul of Bill and Ted from the very first scene. They're still the clueless slackers that we loved, just a bit old and maybe a teeny bit wiser (but not too much wiser).

Their obsession with saving the world has taken a toll on the guys, with the stress affecting their marriages and their relationships with their kids. While the comparison isn't explicit, it's easy to see a parallel with parents who focus too much on work because they think they're doing what's best, but they fail to see the impact on their family until it's too late.

While the movie does follow Bill and Ted as they once again travel through time, it smartly splits the plot between them and their daughters, who also go on an adventure in an attempt to help their two dads. The parallel storylines feel as though they pull inspiration from Charles Dickens's classic "A Christmas Carol," with the dads seeing a possible future, and the girls dealing with the present. A smaller, third storyline has Kristen Schaal as Kelly, Rufus's daughter who is dealing with the ghosts of the past as she tries to live up to her own father's legacy with Bill and Ted.

With three separate plot threads going on, you might think that the 91-minute runtime would feel rushed, but it doesn't. The movie smartly keeps things moving, while still taking the time to breathe when it wants you to take in something.

There are a lot of new faces in "Face the Music" and plenty of returning ones, but the biggest guest star is easily the Grim Reaper (William Sadler). Just like Bill and Ted, he's had some rough times since we last saw him, but getting caught up with the Reaper is like catching up with an old friend. Ultimately, that's also a great way to describe "Face the Music."

As a movie, "Bill & Ted Face the Music" is not a piece of high art. It's dumb, silly fun. It's the movie equivalent of comfort food, and there's nothing wrong with that. Hell, given everything that's happened in 2020 so far, comfort food may just be the thing we all need right about now.

If you were a fan of the original, it's safe to say that you're going to enjoy "Bill & Ted Face the Music." If you're new to "Bill and Ted," a few of the deeper cut references might fly over your head, but the overall premise of the movie still works. It's a feel-good adventure that manages to be more than the sum of its parts.

Score: 8.0/10

"Bill & Ted Face the Music" is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It is showing in limited theaters and available via digital on demand.

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