Bill & Ted Face the Music review – be just about good enough to each other, dudes Wyld at heart

August 28, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 2
Film, Film Reviews
3.5

Summary

Bill & Ted Face the Music is exactly what it needed to be; not a game-changer, but a sweet, smart sequel mostly worth the wait.

3.5

Summary

Bill & Ted Face the Music is exactly what it needed to be; not a game-changer, but a sweet, smart sequel mostly worth the wait.

This review of Bill & Ted Face the Music is spoiler-free.


It has been almost thirty years since Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and in that time a lot has changed, both in the lives and careers of its stars and in the world. In some ways, now seems the best possible time for a long-awaited comedy built on solid, good-hearted foundations of kindness and friendship; if Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) can still be Bill and Ted in spite of it all, then maybe we can still be excellent to each other, dudes. That’s the idea, anyway.

But there’s more to it than that and Bill & Ted Face the Music is smart to recognize it. The essential relationship is still the same, and director Dean Parisot knows how to leverage it without betraying the core essence, but he also knows that regurgitation isn’t enough. Bill and Ted might still be Bill and Ted, but their marriages (to Erinn Hayes and Jayma Mays) are on the rocks, and their kids Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) are grown up. Fame and success have been and gone. The chance to fulfill destiny has passed.

Or has it? That’s the essential question of Bill & Ted Face the Music, which plays with time and space and the idea of one more chance that you might have felt you’d already had. Whisked away by Kelly (Kristen Schaal), daughter of Rufus, to an alternate reality where Holland Taylor’s Great Leader tasks them with writing a song to tie all the universe together, or else, Bill and Ted head into the future while their daughters venture into the past for a meet-in-the-middle musical triumph. It’s a good excuse for celebrity cameos and namechecks but also for Bill and Ted to confront the versions of them that might manifest if they don’t get themselves and their home lives together. It’s just as much about the responsibility that comes with aging and maturing as it is about music, musical icons, and comedy, although needless to say it has all of those things in spades too.

Part of what makes this film work is how much fun Winter and Reeves are having in their old roles, especially Keanu, who easily shrugs off his current Action God persona and leans into his famed reputation as a truly, genuinely nice guy. The whole thing is like that, built on real values, enthusiasm, and an earnest belief that it’s compassion, not cynicism, that will ultimately bring us together even three decades down the line. There are niggles, of course, but then again there always are – but to really dislike this daft and delirious thing even in spite of all the clear love and excitement that brought it about takes a determined effort. And that kind of effort would be best applied elsewhere.


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2 thoughts on “Bill & Ted Face the Music review – be just about good enough to each other, dudes

  • August 28, 2020 at 2:54 pm
    Permalink

    “Part of what makes this film work is how much fun Winter and Reaves are having in their old roles”

    Keanu’s last name is spelled R E E V E S. He’s kinda world famous… He even has a wikipedia page!

    • August 28, 2020 at 3:20 pm
      Permalink

      Fixed. At least I only made that typo once — always a hazard with these little-known low-key indie actors. Cheers.

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