In the middle of a crazy year, can the world be saved by two aging slackers from San Dimas?
Rick Brough tries to find an answer. He’s looking at “Bill and Ted Face the Music” for this week’s Friday Film Review.
Right off the bat, you know there’s a challenge with the premise here—that Bill S. Preston Esquire and Theodore Ted Logan are now middle-aged dads, but they’re still goofy after all these years.
Is that funny—or kind of pathetic? I mean, could you listen to Beavis and Butthead talk about their prostate issues?
As we rejoin Bill and Ted, we find that they haven’t yet fulfilled their destiny, writing the mega-hit rock song that was supposed to unite the world.
But once again, “strange things are afoot”—although Circle K isn’t around anymore. An emissary from the future—Kelly, the daughter of George Carlin’s Rufus—tells them that they have to write and perform the perfect song by 7:17 that night, or all time and space will collapse upon itself.
Bill and Ted adopt the only heroic course open to them. They cheat, trying to hop forward in time just far enough to get the song, already written, from themselves. But they only succeed in encountering future “usses’ who are dissolute, cranky or bizarre.
“Face the Music” brings back screen writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson from the first two films. Director Dean Parisot is best remembered in this genre for the sci-fi comedy “Galaxy Quest.”
The results here are good news and bad news. Since 1989, stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter have become another case of Simon and Garfunkel Syndrome. Reeves has seen a star trajectory that includes the “Matrix” films and “John Wick”.
Winter has kept busy as a director. But he doesn’t look too bad after 30 years. And he’s fun to watch, in fact the most fun in the film. He looks jazzed up, bringing back the Wild Stallyns in all their air-guitar glory.
Another fun returning player is William Sadler as Death. The Grim Reaper plays a mean bass, but he broke off from the Stallyns several years back, after kind of a David Lee Roth episode. However, many of the characters wind up dead and in Hell, so there’s a chance to get the band back together.
The disappointment here is Keanu Reeves, who looks drawn and tired—like he was game enough to show up for the team, but the spirit just wasn’t there.
In the meantime, the film goes in for a Girl Power theme. Bill and Ted’s teenage daughters jump in their own time machine, and bounce around the ages scooping up musical geniuses to create a super-Band. Bill’s progeny is played by Samara Weaving. Ted’s daughter is Brigitte Lundy-Paine, who taps into some of the air-head sweetness that is missing from Reeves.
Meanwhile, there’s a bickering mom-daughter vibe between time emissary Kelly (played by Kristen Schaal) and her mother, the Grand Leader of the Future,( played by Holland Taylor.) And there’s a killer robot who turns out to be Kelly’s lame boyfriend……
Since we already had Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, this movie is just the second-most-confusing time-travel flick of the year.
“Bill and Ted Face the Music” stirs up pleasant memories. But on the Most Excellent spectrum, it’s just a two-and-a-half on a scale of Five.