Movie Plot – Bill & Ted Face the Music: Once told they would save the universe on a time travel adventure, 2 would-be rockers from San Dimas, California, are now middle-aged fathers still trying to make a hit and fulfill their destiny.
Director: Dean Parisot
Writers: Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine
Bill & Ted are back?
After nearly thirty years, Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan are finally making a comeback. And unlike many other recurring movie characters we haven’t seen since the 1980s or 1990s, for once it’s not for an unnecessary reunion, but to finally finish their story that was started back in 1989. Okay, “story” might be a little too serious a term. However, the fact remains that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was already setting up that the lives of the two empty-headed title characters would one day take a meaningful turn.
After all, the events of the corny time-travel comedy were set in motion from a distant future in which the musical exploits of the twosome have culminated in a utopian society. By the end of follow-up Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the path to an all-changing song seemed to have finally been set.
They’re still Bill & Ted
However, the necessary years later, it appears that the duo has not come one step closer to fulfilling their destiny. But from the future it is made clear that time is running out: in an hour and a half they will have to perform the song that will unite the world, otherwise the consequences will be catastrophic.
Since Bill and Ted have no idea how to come up with a revolutionary song after years of struggle, they decide to go forward in time with their time-traveling phone booth. They do so in the hope that future versions of themselves have made the song in the meantime. Of course, this brings up a serious time-travel paradox, but try explaining that to these two airheads.
With many late sequels, it is disappointing to see beloved characters have made little headway with their lives after decades of absence, but with Bill and Ted this is fitting. After all, it’s plausible that if they had any ambition at all, their not-very-high intelligence would ensure that they didn’t achieve it. And the fact that these two middle-aged men still speak the wacky surfing slang they did in their teens is certainly a healthy food for comedy.
The biggest surprise of Bill & Ted Face the Music, then, is that the title characters still make an extremely engaging duo at their current age. The chemistry between performers Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter appears to have hardly lost any of its power.
As Bill and Ted travel forward in time, their daughters Billie and Thea go back to the past to put together a band for their fathers from the greatest musicians in history. Nice idea, but in terms of setup not very different from what Bill and Ted did in Excellent Adventure. And where that film managed to squeeze the necessary humor out of placing historical figures in contemporary situations, Face the Music turns out to be less surprising.
Also in this plotline, that shortcoming is nicely compensated by the good performances: Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine put down very fine variations on their father figures, with similar chemistry.
Honestly, if they want to continue the franchise, the girls would be a perfect fit to these roles. However, I don’t know if this would make enough profits to the studio.
As the conclusion to a trilogy, Bill & Ted Face the Music works well enough, but don’t expect a film that will cast the series in a new light. In the end, Bill & Ted Face the Music is like its main characters: unambitious, but likable enough to forgive that.