Released: 10th September
Seen: 16th September
The year was 1989, Ted ‘Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winters) were visited by a time traveler named Rufus (The late great George Carlin) who was tasked with helping them pass a history test, a most excellent adventure that made up the plot of a film that had the truly strange title Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
It almost instantly became a beloved cult film, it’s popularity leading to a sequel 2 years after and a short lived cartoon series. Sadly, for the last 30 years or so Bill & Ted haven’t been able to have many adventures, mostly because Ted keeps running off into The Matrix or stopping buses from going under certain speed limits or seeking vengeance for his dog. Well, now that the world’s slowed down a little I guess we can have one more adventure with everyone’s favourite slackers.
Bill & Ted Face the Music picks up with the titular twosome in 2020. Bill & Ted have gone from being hit musicians to playing weddings while still trying to write the one song that will connect the universe in harmony. Things have definitely changed in 30 years, Bill & Ted are fathers to two young women, Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) who are as big into music as their fathers. One day, Bill & Ted are approached by Rufus’ daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal) and told that the great song they needed to write has to be performed by 7:17 that night or else the universe will collapse in on itself… everyone seems cautiously optimistic about this.
Throw out any notion that you’re going to follow this film’s logic because its beauty is that there is no logic. The second we bring in the time machine all bets are off and the fun begins. Like the first two Bill & Teds. this film understands that there is inherent comedy in taking these two eternal slackers and throwing them around time, in this film they keep going forward in time to try and find a time period where they actually wrote the song so they can steal it from themselves. This is where we really get to have the most fun of the film, seeing Alex and Keanu taking these characters and pushing them to the limit. It’s hilarious seeing what might happen if we got a wealthy British Bill & Ted, and what’d happen if we got old and nearly dead Bill & Ted.
While Bill & Ted go forwards in time, their daughters steal the movie while going backwards in time to slowly build a band for this big performance. Their band will get people like Mozart or Louis Armstrong but it’s really just an excuse for Samara and Brigette to commit highway robbery and steal the entire film.
Seriously, much as I loved seeing Bill & Ted back again it was their daughters who not only had all the best scenes but kept stealing all the laughs. Honestly they were so good that I desperately want a film where they take Kelly through time. That’s right, an all woman remake of Bill & Ted, these women are so good that no one would have a reasonable argument against it.
It’s also a lot of fun just seeing the callbacks to the earlier films, from the big things like the return of Death (William Sadler) or a really nice moment where Rufus returns as a hologram to little Easter eggs just littered throughout the film. There was definite care taken here to make sure that this film fit in with those that came before it, honestly the only difference is our technology has improved enough that they can do elaborate sequences, like the grand finale (which is genuinely a brilliant ending) or every scene with multiple Bill & Teds. If this is the last little bit of time we get with these two, it’s a great closer for the series.
This doesn’t mean that everything works all the time. Some jokes don’t land, that’s the nature of comedy. I personally cringed watching Keanu trying to play trumpet in the beginning because I used to play that instrument and he wasn’t even miming. Even some of the visuals, especially in the future, had some issues with the compositing.
The film is definitely not perfect, but neither were the first two. It makes up for some of the polish issues with a boundless charm that keeps you smiling even when you kind of know that something didn’t quite work out. Plus, again, the main characters honestly felt like they got the less interesting material compared to the daughters who just stole the entire movie.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is still a wonderful conclusion to a trilogy we never thought we’d get. It’s funny and charming, the kind of movie that’ll just put you in a good mood and have you chuckling the more and more ludicrous it gets. From great callback jokes involving a new family lineage due to marriage to just chuckling while Kid Cudi explains complex scientific theories like it’s nothing, there’s just a little bit of everything and when it works it’s most excellent.
Party on, dudes.