Bill & Ted Face the Music, 2020.
Directed by Dean Parisot.
Starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Anthony Carrigan, Kid Cudi, Jayma Mays, Erinn Hayes, Hal Landon Jr., Beck Bennett, Amy Stoch, Kristen Schaal, Holland Taylor, and Jillian Bell.
Two decades on and no further along in their quest to unite the universe through music, Bill and Ted are having some problems. Supported by their spouses our hapless heroes now have daughters who idolise them, which does little to help when the future comes calling for assistance.
It has been twenty five years since we last encountered Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) and things have not improved for our dynamic duo. Still under the illusion they are destined to write a song which unites everyone, this third outing opens with five minutes of lighthearted exposition before gathering momentum. Even in the original things were never that complex and thankfully nothing has really changed. Face the Music is propelled along by the chemistry of Reeves and Winter who slip back into these personas with ease. Their good-natured cluelessness lends Face the Music an inherent innocence which permeates everything else.
Solid additions include Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine as daughters Theodora and Wilhelmina, who have captured their mannerisms and play off their father figures with ease. Kristen Schaal is our connection to both the late great George Carlin and an essential plot device which ushers our heroes onto their future. There are hat tips to previous instalments as well as that infamous phone booth, while the film itself flies along at a clip. As much as Face the Music is a re-tread of Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey, there is enough invention contained within to make things enjoyable.
William Sadler almost steals the film again as Death experiencing a mid-life crisis in hell, while musically this brings back some familiar faces and some other more comedic choices. Production design is impressive both in terms of tonal depictions of hell and that finale, while direction from Dean Parisot keeps everything moving. There are nice little touches which include our heroes in marriage counselling and a random cameo from rock royalty, but one genuine stand out is Kid Cudi.
Cudi is an American rapper, record producer and song writer from Cleveland who has influenced numerous others in his field. A resume which serves as the basis for this film’s best joke which sees Cudi wax lyrical on the problems of time travel relentlessly. In the same way that Alice Cooper worked so well in Wayne’s World or David Bowie stole five minutes of Zoolander, Cudi pulls the same trick here. Something which not only strengthens Face the Music but makes it feel more contemporary.
For all the reasons people said a third Bill and Ted movie would never work is exactly why things still do. This is no reboot and never pretends to reinvent the wheel but instead embraces everything which made those first two cult classics. Celebratory, euphoric and blatantly cheesy in its feel good factor Face the Music is pure wish fulfilment.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★