Review: Bill & Ted Face the Music

Score: B

Director: Dean Parisot

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine

Running Time: 91 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

"Sometimes, things don't make sense until the end of the story."

Though we never asked for a third movie, or, to be more direct, never thought to ask for a third movie, in the age of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots, the existence of Bill & Ted Face the Music shouldn't be much of a surprise. However, amid an industry shifting pandemic and a global shutdown, no one could have imagined that the film's thematic storyline would serve such a potent metaphor.

With most theaters opening this weekend for the first time in months, Dena Parisot's film will attempt to reignite an industry forced to adapt. Though everything doesn't ride on this one release, many will be paying close attention to both the numbers and audience participation.

Industry professionals can relax, Bill & Ted Face the Music is good. Pointless? Yes. But still fun.

Picking up more than three decades after Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Ted "Theodore" Logan (Keanu Reeves) learn how to play instruments so they can finally compose the song that will unite the world in harmony, Face the Music changes little in the franchise's approach and tone.

Blinded by the outside world, our two musicians are struggling to come to terms with life and the many hardships that come with adulthood. Though they still have their beautiful Princess wives and their now-adult daughters, the Wyld Stallyns have refused to adjust, becoming lost in a black hole of expectation as they work to create the perfect melody.

After an awkward wedding that features more than a few bizarre family titles and an even more peculiar live musical performance, the men are whisked away and given an assignment by The Great Leader (Holland Taylor). It is here that the film begins to find its footing, entrusting the two inadequate men to create a song that will save reality - in the next seventy-five minutes.

In typical Bill & Ted fashion, the guys opt to bypass the writing process and travel through time to visit their future selves and steal the song. (Though we should note, the guys aren't exactly sure if it is stealing, since they are planning to take it from themselves.) If it sounds confusing, don't let it. The franchise has never taken itself seriously, and they don't expect you to either.

As the men embark on their journey, unbeknownst to them, their daughters are working on rounding up the perfect band for their return. The likes of Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong, and a self-playing Kid Cudi enter the spotlight, allowing the film to transcend music styles and, at least in this small way, broaden its appeal.

As Bill & Ted encounter some not so pleasant future versions of themselves, gaining some insight into their life's direction, the film becomes more expansive - if that is even possible. Though the franchise has always operated on loose parameters, the new perspective adds a unique emotional element to counter the film's slapstick humor.

But let's not forget that at its core, Bill & Ted are a simple-minded duo that yeans from your approval. Filled to the brim with well-meaning intentions, they are as likable as it gets, carrying the film with them as they win over your heart and, amid a global pandemic, put a smile on your face. The film isn't revolutionary, but that isn' the point. Bill & Ted Face the Music is simple, lighthearted fun, and a pleasant reminder that the arts are often what bring us together.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.