Just because Bill and Ted, the time travelling slackers last seen on screen almost thirty years ago, got bigger and older doesn’t mean they grew up. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reunite as William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq and Theodore “Ted” Logan in “Bill and Ted Face the Music,” available now in theatres and on demand, to try, once again, to save the world through music.
The leaders of the Wyld Stallyns are now middle aged with kids of their own, played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving. At their peak Bill and Ted’s band played at the Grand Canyon but are now reduced to performing at a lodge for a handful of people who were already there for taco night. Still, they persist in their quest to write the perfect song, a tune so powerful it will unite the world.
Not everyone is on board. “It’s been hard to watch you beat your heads against the wall for 25 years,” says Ted’s wife Princess Elizabeth Logan (Erinn Hayes). “Not sure how much more we can take.”
But when their old mentor Rufus (George Carlin in archival footage) send his daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal) from the future with a mission, Bill and Ted accept. Given 77 minutes and 25 seconds to create a song that will “save reality,“ the duo go on an excellent, time travelling journey to the future to get the song from their future selves. “Let’s go say hello to ourselves and get that song,” says the ever-optimistic Bill.
Cue the famous inner-dimensional phone box.
The new adventure brings with it some grown-up issues, marital problems, matters of life and death, their manipulative future selves, a trip to hell and killer robots.
Meanwhile, as Bill and Ted race into the future with Kelly their daughters are on a mission of their own. Zipping through time they convince some of the greatest musicians the world has ever known—Jimi Hendrix (DazMann Still), Louis Armstrong (Jeremiah Craft), Mozart (Daniel Dorr), drummer Grom (Patty Anne Miller), flautist Ling Lun (Sharon Gee) and rapper Kid Cudi as himself—to bring Bill and Ted’s music to life.
A mix of quantum physics and silly humor, “Bill and Ted Face the Music” is more a blast in nostalgia than laugh out loud funny. The screenplay, by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, who also penned “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” haven’t played around with the formula. This isn’t a gritty reimagining of the franchise. Bill and Ted haven’t developed dark sides or become jaded. They are carbon copies of their former screen selves, albeit with a few more miles on their faces. The yuks are derived from Bill and Ted as wide-eyed, Valley-speaking saviors who look for and find the best in everyone they meet in the past, present and future.
Along the way there are some welcome returns, most notably William Sadler as the bass playing Grim Reaper, who can’t understand why Bill and Ted don’t appreciate his 40-minute-long bass solos, and it’s nice to see Carlin again, if only for a second. Lundy-Paine and Weaving, have fun, playing the daughters as two chips off the old blockheads, naively discovering the true secret of world unity.
“Bill and Ted Face the Music” is a blast from the past, a movie that would look great on VHS, that maintains the goofiness and the optimism of the originals.